Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is cautioning against creating new laws for “individual sets of circumstances”, as a petition calling for harsher “coward punch” laws gains traction.
When asked by reporters this afternoon whether existing laws were sufficient, Ardern spoke about the issue broadly. She said she did not want to “compromise” any case that may come before the courts relating to the death of promising MMA fighter Fau Vake.
Vake’s death was announced yesterday after he was assaulted in Auckland’s CBD last Sunday.
Ardern said the question was whether a separate piece of legislation was needed for particular offending.
“One of the issues is when you create separate pieces of legislation, sometimes you can create unintended consequences,” she said.
“Currently, of course, you are able via a manslaughter charge, for instance, to receive a term of life imprisonment.”
The problem is proving manslaughter beyond reasonable doubt never happens, and is basically never charged.
Last year, former National MP Matt King’s Crimes (Coward Punch Causing Death) Amendment Bill was voted down in Parliament in its first reading.
The bill would have created a new offence for “one punch” assaults. The bill proposed a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment, as an alternative to manslaughter, for those convicted of the offence.
I think this law is needed to protect the weaker in society. Most people couldn’t kill someone with a single punch. Hell I’d be more likely to hurt myself if I punched someone in the head. But a small portion of the make population are strong enough that a single punch from them can kill you.
The law should be there to protect people. Far too many have died or been seriously injured from coward punches.