Attorney General Chris Finlayson pointed out on Monday out that ACT’s three-strikes policy would violate the Bill of Rights Act – and so it would. It’s not about “rights for violent criminals,” as Radio NZ erroneously reported, but as Finlayson quite properly says,
the legislation could result in "disparities between offenders that are not rationally based" and "gross disproportionality at sentencing", which raised the apparent inconsistency with the Bill of Rights [protecting New Zealanders against cruel, degrading or "disproportionately severe" punishment].
It would raise the likelihood, or at least the possibility, of an offender being sprung for a five-year offence having nothing to lose by going on to commit murder before he’s caught. After all, if simple assault and mass-murder get the same sentence, what has he got to lose? And it would raise the possibility, if not now but in the future, of those found guilty of victimless crimes being locked up and watching the key be thrown away.
Why ACT ever went with the ‘three-strikes’ populism Lord Ansell alone knows, when the proven success story they might have promoted instead was the Broken Windows model, or the simple right to self-defence.
And why ACT ever went with David ‘Nutcracker’ Garrett as an MP for their supposedly classically liberal party I guess we’ll never know. (Garrett, when told of Finlayson’s findings responded: "So what? Alter the Bill of Rights Act. We've got too hung up on people's rights." Which tells you all you need to know about Mr Garrett, I guess)
And David Farrar posts on a controlled experiment in Boston to test the Broken Windows methodology. And guess what: it worked. Again.