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Heather du Plessis-Allan: Judges will do what they like with Three Strikes

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Tue, 23 Apr 2024, 5:36pm

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Judges will do what they like with Three Strikes

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Tue, 23 Apr 2024, 5:36pm

This morning I was listening to the radio, and I was quite shocked when I heard Labour’s Justice Spokesperson, Duncan Webb, talking about the Three Strikes Law.  

He said judges and lawyers hate it so much, they will find ways around it so they don’t have to implement it.  

He said because the law will now only apply to crimes with sentences over two years – 24 months, “we will see a lot of sentences at 23 months because judges and lawyers... hate this.” 

Now... that’s a shocker.  

Because what that tells you is that it’s just accepted that if judges and lawyers don’t like a law, they’ll find a way around it. 

It’s so widely known that Duncan just says it on the radio and nobody blinds an eyelid. 

It’s the reason, apparently, that when we had Three Strikes last time, no one ever made it to their third strike fully. 

There were 29 people on second strike, and even after eight years of the law, no one on a full third strike.  

The only guy who did make it to the third strike - the Wellington Kisser – only got a half punishment, because he was given permission to apply for parole after a third of his sentence.  

Now, the reason I’m telling you about this is because this is a live debate... the conduct of judges.  

What with the Waitangi Tribunal judges thinking it’s acceptable to summon a minister to answer to them, and the Supreme Court judges’ quite radical moves to insert Tikanga Maori into law, and the Law Society on Friday telling us off for criticising judges and calling them activist judges.  

That’s exactly what we’re talking about.  

Voters wanted the Three Strikes Law, all three parties in Government promised to bring it back; so when voters voted for them... they knew they were voting for the Three Strikes Law. 

This Government has a mandate to bring it back.  

But apparently it’s widely known... the courts will ignore it because they know better.  

No. That is not how our system works. Voters are the boss, Parliament has supremacy.  

Judges are expected to implement the law, and if the Law Society is worried about people losing trust in judges, it could be that criticism isn’t the problem – the way the judges ignore the intention of Parliament might be the problem.  

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