Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: All of these things are quite like each other

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  • Nick Kearney,

    But none of those those scenarios (independently or together) were done on three separate occasions, by the same offender, who on each occasion was convicted of the offence, were they? So they actually have nothing in common with ACT"s policy, because they are one-off offences.

    But if they had been done on three occasions by the same offender, who on each occasion had been convicted, then yes, they would have something in common with the policy.

    And:

    I wouldn’t campaign for it exactly, but a three year prison term is pretty standard for a repeat burglar of the type ACT is campaigning over, and may even by a little on the low side.

    My experience from being in the police is that if you went to jail on your third domestic burglary offence you either faced an unduly harsh judge, or there were aggravating factors that warranted it. My experience says you had to wait until about your fifth burglary before facing just a few months in prison.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 73 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    What about the burglars who happen to be dressed in neatly pressed suits, drive expensive late-model cars, and peddle 'bulletproof investments'? Or private investigators? Or secret agents planting bugs?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5426 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Nick Kearney,

    But if they had been done on three occasions by the same offender, who on each occasion had been convicted, then yes, they would have something in common with the policy.

    ACT's three strikes for burglary policy does not work as you describe. The first two strikes do not have to have occurred on separate occasions.

    And my point is not that these offences are likely to have been committed by the same person. I accept that this has not and almost certainly will not happen. These are not given as example of minor burglaries: one of the examples could be charged as attempted rape! Rather, they are given as examples of the breadth of burglary as an offence.

    The ACT Party voted in favour of amending the law of burglary so that all of these things count as burglary. Why?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Kearney, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Well I guess to the suspicious I guess the answer would be because ACT could then introduce three strikes to basic, simple offences (drunks scaling a fence etc).

    I'd like to think I'm right in saying three-strikes for burglary was not even in contemplation back then.

    And hopefully I am right.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 73 posts Report Reply

  • Leopold,

    `As through this world you ramble
    You'll meet some funny men
    Some will rob you with a six-gun
    Others with a fountain pen...
    But as through this world you ramble
    As through this world you roam
    You'll never find an outlaw
    Drive a family from their home'
    Pretty Boy Floyd - Woody Guthrie

    Since Jan 2007 • 152 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Lag time is the Big time...
    With a guaranteed incarceration period, and a steady, if not increasing, flow of inmates, any self respecting Private Prison Partnership could start looking ahead - looking at going for those big work contracts... looking after number one...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7896 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Not surprisingly, ACT doesn't want to increase penalties for financial, passport or electoral fraud.

    I think that the latter should attract not only a long jail sentence for the perpetrator, but for all those who acted as an accessory to the offence by voting for them.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Psycho Milt,

    ...for all those who acted as an accessory to the offence by voting for them.

    Not that I'm a fan of ACT, but why does the mere mention of its name cause otherwise sane people to immediately issue a stream of deranged gibberish?

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2007 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Not for the first time have I been perplexed and bewildered by “New and Improved ” laws.
    here is a bit about the Sus Law back in the UK back in the day.

    1824 legislation
    The power to act on “sus” was found in part of section 4 of the Vagrancy Act 1824, which provided that:
    every suspected person or reputed thief, frequenting any river, canal, or navigable stream, dock, or basin, or any quay, wharf, or warehouse near or adjoining thereto, or any street, highway, or avenue leading thereto, or any place of public resort, or any avenue leading thereto, or any street, or any highway or any place adjacent to a street or highway; with intent to commit an arrestable offence
    —section 4, Vagrancy Act 1824
    “shall be deemed a rogue and vagabond” and would be guilty of an offence, and be liable to be imprisoned for up to three months. This effectively permitted the police to stop and search, and even arrest, anyone found in a public place on the grounds that they suspected that they might intend to commit an offence.
    In order to bring a prosecution under the Act, the police had to prove that the defendant had committed two acts:
    the first, that established them as a “suspected person” (by acting suspiciously), and
    the second, that provided intent to commit an arrestable offence.

    Suspicion and Intent, neither of which are objective, they are purely subjective and fall prone to abuse by the powers that be.

    I suspect that this is the thinking behind the change… “Why do they make it so hard for us to fuck over the obvious scumbags”
    Yeah well, like it or not, even “scumbags” have rights.

    Little note as for today…
    Ruben "The Hurricane" Carter died today (ish) champion of the world and champion of justice.
    He spent about the same amount of time in jail as Teina Pora and for the same reason….

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    here is a bit about the Sus Law back in the UK back in the day.

    And that very sus law went up in smoke with the 1981 Brixton riots.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5426 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Psycho Milt,

    Because their policies are generally a stream of deranged gibberish?

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2539 posts Report Reply

  • Psycho Milt, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    But they're not, are they. They're generally an odd mix of conservative and libertarian policies, but they come with rational explanations for them. We may strongly disagree with the rational explanations or consider them based on completely false premises, but we don't have to act like it's Kiwiblog and someone just mentioned the Green Party.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2007 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Not surprisingly, ACT doesn't want to increase penalties for financial, passport or electoral fraud.

    Here is then-MP John Boscawen calling for strengthening financial fraud laws (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10562751)

    Here is ACT voting in favour of increased penalties for Passport Fraud (http://www.knowledge-basket.co.nz/search/doc_view.php?d1=han/text/2002/06/11_118.html)

    And Here is ACT supporting legislation to increase transparency of election financing at local elections (http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/debates/debates/50HansD_20130625_00000016/local-electoral-amendment-bill-no-2-%E2%80%94-third-reading)

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    ...and here is ACT's main flotation device, Alan Gibbs, calling for privatising schools, hospitals, and roads...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7896 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Here is then-MP John Boscawen calling for strengthening financial fraud laws (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10562751 )

    Here is ACT voting in favour of increased penalties for Passport Fraud (http://www.knowledge-basket.co.nz/search/doc_view.php?d1=han/text/2002/06/11_118.html )

    And Here is ACT supporting legislation to increase transparency of election financing at local elections (http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/debates/debates/50HansD_20130625_00000016/local-electoral-amendment-bill-no-2-%E2%80%94-third-reading )

    Fixed. Those parentheses can throw a few spanners in the works.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5426 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    …and here is ACT’s main flotation device, Alan Gibbs, calling for privatising schools, hospitals, and roads…

    Alan Gibbs, Don Brash and others who think NZ should rain-dance for a Singaporean cargo cult conveniently like to forget that Singapore can get away with a lot of things because it's a de facto one-party state. And, of course, there's modern Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew's most famous quote:

    "If Singapore is a nanny state, then I am proud to have fostered one."

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5426 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Because putting people in jails frequently and for a long time has been shown again and again to reduce criminal offending … no wait.

    Arguing about the breadth of crimes this might apply to is utterly beside the point.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    And that very sus law went up in smoke with the 1981 Brixton riots.

    The suss law was the main cause of those riots. Many minorities were being singled out by the police who were using this law, Vagrancy Act 1824, as a "weapon" to quell public disquiet at the policies of the Thatcher Govt. It wasn't a new law but a "re-use" of archaic law re-purposed to counter perceived revolutionary rumblings from the "rotten boroughs" full of those nasty darkies.
    I was there, I am scarred, I still feel unease when I see someone dressed like Thatcher.... EEEEEK!..... Collins

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    I can understand your desire to engage with this proposal in a sincere way, but this looks like one of those election year trojan horse jobbies.

    ACT is pretty hostile to the interests of most New Zealanders, and I'd be careful about giving it or any of its policies an undeserved endorsement.

    Incidentally, you can read about Texas' recent efforts to reduce prison populations here.

    Since Nov 2006 • 788 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    On those points, it seems a case of do as ACT says, not as ACT does.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5426 posts Report Reply

  • Euan Mason, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    I was there, I am scarred, I still feel unease when I see someone dressed like Thatcher.... EEEEEK!..... Collins

    :}

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*, in reply to Psycho Milt,

    Psycho Milt is right. As an elitist group of white-collar anarchists, ACT are completely rational.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to WH,

    Incidentally, you can read about Texas’ recent efforts to reduce prison populations here.

    That was an interesting article. The aim was to save money, but the method was to reduce re-offending rather than simply punishing. Pity it took them so long when that approach has been in place in other countries for decades. That means it will only be another decade or so before NZ tries it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    Three strikes laws are abhorrent. If the penalties on burglary or whatever else are too soft, raise them for everyone.

    That doesn't actually do anything but put more people in prison, but at least it would keep certain ACT party donors (the private prisons, duh) happy without forcing the law to be disproportionate.

    Since Nov 2006 • 609 posts Report Reply

  • WH, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I doubt this proposal is even intended to have actual policy value. I think it's a pretty transparent play for sympathetic media coverage TBH.

    New Zealand is fortunate not to have the kinds of problems you read about in the US media. It's good to see things evolving there.

    I'm reading The Great Tax Robbery at the moment. The author outlines a single acquisition structure that is said to have cost UK taxpayers between £6 - £8 billion pounds (see page 110 of the book for the reference). That's between $12 - $16 billion NZD, at current exchange rates, for just one transaction.

    I think it's worth bearing these sorts of numbers in mind when people start talking about longer jail terms for people who steal televisions.

    ACT's website states that:

    The government must review its asset ownership, expenditure, tax structure, and regulatory environment with new zeal. It short, the country must reverse its policy stagnation to reverse its economic stagnation. Short to medium term goals should include reducing the level of government expenditure below 28 per cent of GDP and lowering the top tax rate to no more than 20 cents.

    These certainly aren't my economic priorities.

    Since Nov 2006 • 788 posts Report Reply

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