Strangulation should be a strike offence

The Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill has submissions close end of Wednesday. It is a good bill. One of the provisions introduces a new specific crime to the Crimes Act of strangulation. It says:

Everyone is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who intentionally or recklessly impedes another person’s normal breathing, blood circulation, or both, by doing (manually, or using any aid) all or any of the following:

(a) blocking that other person’s nose, mouth, or both:
(b) applying pressure on, or to, that other person’s throat, neck, or both.

This is a good new offence as previously such an assault would be seen as quite minor unless you could prove attempted murder (which is hard).

But one thing the bill doesn’t do is to make strangulation a strike offence. A maximum sentence of seven years is the threshold for violent crimes being considered a strike offence, so it is peculiar that this is not going to be a strike offence. It almost undermines the notion that this is a serious violent offence.

All it takes is a simple consequential amendment to s86A of the Sentencing Act 2002.

If anyone has the time I would urge you to make a brief submission to the Law and Order Select Commitee asking that strangulation be made a strike offence. You have until the end of Wednesday.

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