Anna Leask

Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Christie's family take bail petition to Parliament

Tracey Marceau, centre, her daughter Heather, holding Christies ashes, and Christie Law chairwoman Ruth Money. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Tracey Marceau, centre, her daughter Heather, holding Christies ashes, and Christie Law chairwoman Ruth Money. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Tracey Marceau delivered a tearful plea to Parliament yesterday as she presented a 58,000 signature petition supporting the campaign, in memory of her slain daughter, to strengthen bail laws.

Christie Marceau, 18, died in her mother's arms after a violent attack at their North Shore home in November.

Akshay Chand was arrested at the scene and later charged with Christie's murder. Chand was on bail at the time after being charged in September with kidnapping, assaulting and threatening Christie.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and will stand trial for murder in October. His lawyer is seeking to have the other charges dealt with in a separate trial.

Mrs Marceau and her husband Brian started Christie's Law soon after, adamant that if bail laws had been tighter their daughter would still be alive.

Yesterday, Mrs Marceau and her daughter Heather joined the Sensible Sentencing Trust in WQellington to present the petition to Parliament.

Mrs Marceau wrote a speech which she read aloud for the first time on the steps of Parliament.

"I didn't want it to sound rehearsed," she told the Herald.

"It was nerve-racking, but at the same time I was almost excited. We've actually got to this stage after all the hard work."

She began with a Marilyn Monroe quote that Christie had saved on her computer.

"Beneath the makeup and behind the smile, I'm just a girl who wishes for the world," Mrs Marceau said. "But she will never get that wish because almost seven months ago Christie, our beautiful daughter, was viciously taken from us."

The group had Christie's ashes with them.

"We made quite sure she was there. It's an important part of the journey and it's not just our journey - it's Christie's journey as well. We've started this and we have got to see it through. Christie would never have given up and nor will we."

Surrounded by a group of supporters wearing turquoise - Christie's favourite colour - Mrs Marceau thanked the Government for its progress on the Bail Amendment Bill, which passed its first reading two weeks ago.

But she said the changes proposed in the bill might not have saved Christie's life because her alleged killer did not have a criminal history when he committed his first offence against her in September.

"Serious offenders all start somewhere. How many chances do we give them to take lives? Bail needs to be considered case by case and not as a right. Currently, bail is granted because ... accused offenders have rights. But where were Christie's rights to life? Why was her right to live a full life not taken into account?"

The campaign has been backed by National list MP Jackie Blue and the Sensible Sentencing Trust.

Mrs Marceau presented National MP Jacqui Dean with the petition.

"She promised me that she would look into it with great consideration. I guess we just have to believe that," Mrs Marceau said.

DONATIONS

Christie's Law at Westpac, account number 03-0275-0644809-00 or phone 0900-723-369.

- additional reporting, Isaac Davison

- NZ Herald

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