The Sensible Sentencing Trust is appalled that Justice Jill Mallon has today refused to apply the Life without Parole (LWOP) provisions of the Three Strikes law as enacted by Parliament.
In sentencing Shane Pierre Harrison for murder at the High Court in Wellington today, Justice Mallon was required by law to impose a true life-means-life sentence, as Harrison has a prior conviction for a strike offence. Justice Mallon instead invoked the ‘unless manifestly unjust’ provision to avoid imposing LWOP, and instead sentenced Harrison to a minimum non-parole period of just 13 years.
Trust spokesperson, Ruth Money, today said: “We think this judgment is a perversion of Parliament’s clear intention to impose LWOP on murderers with a prior strike conviction in all but the most extraordinary circumstances. This case is not one of them.”
Money continued: “In addition to his ‘strike’ convictions, Shane Harrison, is understood to have a significant criminal history, including a manslaughter conviction when aged 17. The manifestly unjust provision was not designed as a get out of jail free card for an offender of Harrison’s profile.”
Sensible Sentencing is urging the Crown to consider appealing this precedent-setting judgment.
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