Call to close three-strikes loophole

NZ Herald 12 Oct 2012
Victim advocates are calling for changes to the three-strikes law to ensure offenders receive a warning for each crime they commit that is eligible under the law.

They say a “loophole” in the legislation means those who offend while on bail are avoiding strike warnings, and have asked Justice Minister Judith Collins to consider making changes.

Under the law, violent and sexual offenders receive a normal sentence and a warning for strike one, a sentence without parole for strike two, and the maximum sentence for that offence, without parole, for strike three.

A warning can be given only when someone is convicted. If they go on to commit further strike offences, they will receive further warnings.

But if they commit other strike offences between their arrest and sentencing, they do not receive a warning for it.

The Sensible Sentencing Trust has asked Ms Collins to consider amending the law to include “provisional warnings” to ensure offenders are properly subjected to the escalating punishments.

A provisional warning could be given to a person who commits a second or subsequent strike offence while on bail for an initial strike offence.