• Nick Smith

Nelson MP and Corrections Minister Nick Smith said today that the law is deficient in not providing proper victim notification procedures for serious crimes, where the offender is found insane and sentenced to a psychiatric institution.

"I have raised the issue with the Ministers of Health and Justice. It is accepted that there is an anomaly in the Victims of Offences Act 1987, that needs to be corrected. We need to provide a Victim Notification Register for people sent to a psychiatric institution in the same way that we provide victim notification for people sentenced to prison."

"It is unfair on the victim of a crime, that they don't receive the same treatment as when the perpetrator of the crime is sentenced to jail. The Ministries of Health and Justice are working on plugging this gap in the law so that people, like Mary Thornton and her daughter, are treated better by the system."

"Historically victim's rights have not rated highly within our criminal justice system. The prison based Victim Notification Register has been a good start, but has had its share of glitches. We are investing in substantial new technology to make it work better. Systems need to be extended to include persons sentenced to psychiatric institutions, as one of the ways in which we can improve the balance between the rights of victims and managing offenders.