OneNews 28 May 2014
A bill which will loosen the strict regulations governing victim impact statements has passed its final reading in Parliament.
Justice Minister Judith Collins says the Victims of Crime Reform Bill will give victims of serious offences the right to read their statement to the court.
“In the past, victims have felt their say has been limited and impersonal. Our changes help to empower victims by giving them opportunity to voice how the offending has personally impacted them,” she said.
When the changes were first proposed, Gil Elliott, the father of murdered student Sophie Elliott, welcomed them. Clayton Weatherston was found guilty of stabbing Ms Elliott over 200 times in 2008 and was jailed for a minimum non-parole period of 18 years.
Mr Elliott’s victim impact statement was heavily edited the night before he read it aloud in court after the trial of Weatherston, and he questioned why he couldn’t say what he wanted to, saying he couldn’t “say anything that might offend” his daughter’s killer.