NZ Herald Mar 27, 2010
People who travel overseas to have sex with children will face a “strike” towards life imprisonment under new proposals that widen the net of the three strikes bill. The Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill – under which criminals at strike three would get a maximum sentence without parole for any of 40 qualifying offences – was yesterday reported back from select committee amid fierce opposition from Labour. The committee recommended the bill – which has had five new offences added – be passed, but rejected inclusion of burglary and manufacturing methamphetamine charges as property and drug crimes did not target recidivist violent offenders.
The new offences include having sex with children outside New Zealand; infecting with disease; poisoning with intent to cause grievous bodily harm; counselling or attempting to procure murder; and conspiracy to commit murder. The bill has also reduced the sentence for a manslaughter conviction at strike three from life without parole under the earlier version of the bill to a minimum 20 years in prison. If the sentence is found to be manifestly unjust, the bill imposes a sentence of at least 10 years compared with the earlier version, which allowed a judge complete discretion.