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Sensible Sentencing disappointed with McLaughlin murder sentence

The Sensible Sentencing Trust is asking what it would take before a judge utilized legislation available and handed down a Life without Parole sentence.

The Trust has criticized the sentence of ‘life’ with a minimum non parole period of 23 years imposed on two time killer Jeremy McLaughlin in Christchurch today. The Crown had sought a sentence of Life Without Parole (LWOP) for the killing of 13-year-old Jade Bayliss, the first time such a sentence had been sought since it became available in 2010.

“Parliament recognized in 2010 that some killers are beyond redemption, and gave Judges the ability to impose Life Without Parole (LWOP) in those cases” said Sensible Sentencing National Spokesman Garth McVicar.

“This man has killed before, 16 years ago in Australia. Now he has brutally taken a life for a second time, a teenage girl, murdered in her own home. If second time killers – particularly where the victim is vulnerable – do not deserve LWOP, I wonder what does” McVicar said.

“When McGlauglin is eligible for Parole Jade Bayliss should have been a vibrant 36 year old woman in the prime of her life. Her family will be denied all the enjoyment her life could have offered and instead they will be thrown into the stress and turmoil an offender orientated Parole system.”

“In a similar recent case in Australia the Judge imposed a sentence of LWOP on a man who had also killed twice, both of the victims being young women. Like McLaughlin, Steven James Hunter killed two young women, the first in 1988 and another in 2012. The Australian Judge did not shirk his duty, and sent the two time killer to jail for the rest of his natural life” McVicar said

“The Crown saw fit to seek a sentence of LWOP in this case. The Judge has decided not to impose it. The Crown must surely now appeal this decision to the Court of Appeal whose Judges can then, at the very least, give some guidance to the Judges of the High Court as to what kind of case will warrant a sentence of LWOP” said McVicar.

“Our justice system, through Parliament, gives Judges the tools with which to dispense justice. Parliament has clearly indicated that in the worst cases of murder LWOP is the appropriate sentence. Justice Panckhurst has decided that this is not such a case. Clearly the Judge’s need guidance as to just what is required before they impose the ultimate penalty. The Crown, by way of an appeal, must ensure that the Judges of the High Court get the guidance they obviously need” McVicar said.

“Justice Panckhurst, by his actions today, has sentenced Jades family to a whole of life sentence with no possibility of parole.”

Regards,

Garth McVicar
National Spokesperson,
Sensible Sentencing Trust.
(M) 027 248 7919
(W) 06 835 5521

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