Bevan Hurley

Bevan Hurley is the Herald on Sunday chief reporter.

Three strikes law will fill our prisons

A man charged with his "third strike" has no incentive to plead guilty and could subject his alleged victim to a needless trial, a legal expert says.

Under the three strikes legislation, an offender must be sentenced to the maximum sentence without parole regardless of their plea.

The Herald on Sunday revealed last week a 20-year-old from Wellington is believed to be the first to be charged with his third strike.

President of the Criminal Bar Association, Tony Bouchier, said: "There is no discount for early guilty pleas, no discount for remorse, it's just black and white.

"We are simply going to fill our prisons with people who are required to do very long terms of imprisonment."

Justice Minister Judith Collins said legislators were aware of this when they passed the bill in 2010.

"You are talking about people who are rapists, murderers, very serious recidivist offenders.

who by the third strike have been given every chance possible. The thought that they care one scrap about the victims is slightly naive."

Meanwhile, an International Criminal Law Congress in Queenstown has heard the three strikes legislation removes important discretionary powers from judges.

Speaking yesterday, Auckland University sociologist James Oleson said judges were an important check to avoid "manifest injustice".

- Herald on Sunday

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