Sensible Sentencing Explained
Kapiti Rotary Club has recently been addressed by Mr Garth McVicar, the founder of the Sensible Sentencing trust.
Mr McVicar revealed that New Zealand had one of the lowest crime rates in the OECD just 40 years ago, which has dramatically and steadily deteriorated, which now puts us in one of the worst categories. ‘On average, New Zealand experiences a violent crime every 10 minutes, and this includes 164 homicides, which peaked last year’.
The Sensible Sentencing Trust was established in 2001, because of increasing concern about names suppression, leniency towards offenders, and insufficient support and compensation for victims. Statistics show, that on average it takes 18 prior convictions for an offender to be handed a jail sentence. ‘When doing our research, we have become quite alarmed at the high number of repeat offenders appearing before the courts on very serious charges. It is patently obvious that guilty parties have adopted a couldn’t care less attitude for possible penalties, due to the leniency of the system. Bail and home-detention sentences have become a frequent method of dealing with offenders, and this is insufficient in our view to overcome the all too common incidence of re-offending, particularly serious sex crimes. We have branded the current system as “The Liberal Lunacy Policy”, that sees most of the formal resources going towards the offender instead of the victims’, said Mr Mc Vicar.
‘On the positive side, government has now recognised our Trust as a responsible and credible organisation, and are now included in judicial debates, and at government Select Committee meetings where crime Bills are considered prior to formal parliamentary debate. Victims’ rights are now being acknowledged at last. We have gained ground on several fronts including protection orders; confiscation of proceeds from crime; a child sex-offender register, and many other contributions towards tougher penalties. Our focus for the future is saving our kids,’ concluded Mr McVicar.