Child risk prompts swift law change

The Dominion Post 03 April 2009 

 The Government has moved to close a legal loophole with a law to monitor child-sex offenders electronically for up to 10 years after they leave prison. MPs took the rare step last night of allowing legislation to be introduced and made law in one sitting after Justice Minister Simon Power said the legal loophole posed an “unacceptable risk” to children.

Mr Power said law changes in 2007 had inadvertently threatened the ability of authorities to impose conditions on paroled sex offenders, such as where they could live, without their consent. That would have led to a bizarre situation in which freed child-sex offenders would have had to agree to rules being put in place. “That’s just unacceptable and obviously nonsensical if we were to have legislation that would keep our children safe.”


The 2007 changes had also created uncertainty around the length of time electronically monitored curfews could be imposed on child-sex offenders once they left prison. It appeared they could be imposed only for the first 12 months.