NZ Herald 7 Aug 2012
Twenty-three people were convicted of murders committed while free on bail over a five-year period, say Ministry of Justice figures obtained by the Herald. A further 21 were convicted of “homicide-related” offences committed while on bail. These included manslaughter, attempted murder and driving causing death. Figures released to the Herald under the Official Information Act show four people were convicted of committing murder while on bail in 2006, six each in 2007 and 2008, three in 2009 and four in 2010. Figures for last year and this year were not available. The figures, which cover defendants whose trials were completed by the end of 2010, do not indicate the number of victims, as in some cases more than one person was charged with the same murder, or more than one murder occurred at the same time. The information also revealed that over the same period, almost 70,000 offenders committed new crimes after being released on bail. The figures were revealed days before a parliamentary select committee is to start hearing submissions on proposed changes to bail laws.
Tougher penalties won’t work: Law Society
NZCity News 7 Aug 2012
The Law Society has blasted calls for tougher bail laws and harsher prison sentences, saying tougher penalties will not produce a better society. It is impossible to predict if defendants would go on to commit more serious crimes when they applied for bail, says president Jonathan Temm. Society had also tried the cruellest punishments devised and still not been successful in reducing crime, he said. That was in response to Family First endorsing calls for tougher bail laws in light of figures obtained by the New Zealand Herald. The figures showed 23 people committed murder while free on bail between 2006 and 2010. Family First spokesman Bob McCoskrie says the figures show the urgent need for improve public safety, and to ensure that those accused of serious offences will find it more difficult to get bail. But Mr Temm told NZ Newswire there was a fundamental problem among the groups calling for making life tough for criminals, in that they thought somehow it would produce a better community.