Calls to remove three strikes law go unanswered as government drags its feet

Mounting calls for the three-strikes law to be canned are yet to be acted on, despite two consecutive justice ministers acknowledging the regime is fundamentally unjust. 

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The Canterbury Criminal Bar Association is among those concerned that delays are resulting in people being jailed for far longer than is fair. Source: 1 NEWS

It has prompted the Canterbury Bar Association to speak out, frustrated by delays, claiming they’re a result of people being jailed for far longer than what’s fair. 

“Everybody that I’ve ever had who has been entranced under the second or third strike has been treated unjustly,” Defence Lawyer Rupert Glover told 1 NEWS. 

Introduced in 2010, it was hoped the longer sentences would deter repeated offenders, but last year, then Justice Minister Andrew Little stated the government was committed to repealing the law. 

Months on and still no significant progress has been made to repeal the laws, much to the concern of the Canterbury Criminal Bar Association. 

Association president Nicola Hansen says they’ve written to the current Justice Minister Kris Faafoi asking why nothing has been done. 

“You know, the situation is unjust. It’s time the government makes a move to correct it.

It’s frustrating and I think New Zealanders as a whole believe in a fair and level playing field. Fairness is important to us and this three-strikes legislation totally ignores fairness.” 

While Faafoi’s reply has reinforced that the “government is committed to repealing the three-strikes law,” stating he too agrees the system is unjust, he said, “it’s taken a bit more time than we’d hoped for but hopefully we’ll have a decision out of cabinet soon". 

He’s hoping to introduce the legislation before the end of the year. 

Both lawyers say not only is this change taking too long, but those who’ve been sentenced unfairly will need their jail time reviewed.