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More rights for crime victims as 'not guilty on account of insanity' verdict to be renamed

Victims of those declared insane who committed crimes will soon be given more rights, 1 NEWS has revealed.

Justice Minister Andrew Little is promising to rename the verdict of "not guilty on account of insanity" to acknowledge that the offender committed the crime.

For more than a decade, Graeme Moyle has been fighting to change the criminal justice system.

His brother Colin was killed in 2007, beaten with a spade and set alight by his former flatmate Matthew Ahlquist, who was found to be insane and therefore not guilty of murder. 

"At the moment the rules are all in favour of the offender and there aren't any for the survivors or victims or the family of the victims," Graeme Moyle said.

"The insanity verdict as it is at the moment has been around for 180 years, unchanged. And the 'not guilty' component of it is just a slap in the face to victims because it's not truthful," he said.

Mr Moyle's been working with National's Justice spokesperson Louise Upston to try to change the law.

"We want to change the finding to something that actually demonstrates that there's no doubt about who committed the act," Ms Upston said.

A National Party Bill to protect victims of insane offenders will be put into Parliament's Ballot this month.

Victims have taken to the streets, calling for the Government's support, and the minister in charge says change is now coming.

"We have to find a form of words that I think properly reflects in the 21st century what we understand to have happened," Andrew Little said.

Mr Little also wants the victims of those who are declared insane to be given more information about an offender's release.

But, unlike National, he doesn't believe the families need to be consulted over the decision.

"The considerations there are about mental health and those particular issues. I'm not quite sure what the victim's family would bring to that," he said.

Ms Upston said National wants to make sure "that victims can have their say, that they can appear either in person or by a written statement to make sure their voice is heard".  

Graeme Moyle says it makes sense for all victims to be given a voice.

"It won't apply to us, but it will apply to future victims. And if we can pave the way and make things easier and less painful for them that's a huge win," he said.

Victims will be given a say at the Government's Justice Summit, with a final law change expected before the end of the year.

The Government’s promising to rename the verdict of “not guilty on account of insanity” to acknowledge the offender committed the crime. Source: 1 NEWS