Legislation Introduced Next Week Will Bring New Rights For Victims

  • Tony Ryall
Justice

In Hawkes Bay today Justice Minister, Tony Ryall, announced that next week the Government will introduce legislation creating new rights for victims in the justice system.

“We need to tip the balance more in favour of victims. This new Bill is our next step in providing a better justice system,” said Mr Ryall.

Mr Ryall made the announcement while in Hawkes Bay visiting the Napier and Hastings Courthouses, a local Safer Community Council, Youth Council members, and other groups involved in the justice system.

The new legislation will replace the Victims of Offences Act 1987, which will be repealed. Those very limited rights the current Act does contain will be retained.

New rights will include:

  • the right to deliver orally a victim impact statement at sentencing hearings;
  • allowing the Court to suppress any or part of the victim impact statement in order to protect the victim;
  • the right to make an oral submission prior to parole hearings and hearings to set conditions of release when offenders reach their final release date;
  • the right to make oral submissions to parole hearings and release hearings at venues other than the prison where the offender’s interview is held; and,
  • the right to make written submissions about release conditions for offenders released on reaching their final release date.

“This significant legislation builds on new victims’ rights announced earlier this year under which victim safety becomes the primary concern when judges consider bail for cases involving repeat serious violent offending and re-offending while on bail.

"We have also introduced new court security measures to enhance the safety of victims and witnesses appearing in court.

“National takes victims’ rights seriously and will be doing more for victims over the next three years. Further new rights will be announced in due course.

“More has to be done. The Justice system is more than lawyers and the accused. Most importantly, it’s about ordinary people and their rights to safety,” said Mr Ryall.