The Crown has kicked off its appeal against the sentence of two murderers by meticulously going over the three-strikes law.

Murderers Shane Harrison and Justin Turner could have been jailed for life under the three-strikes law, but the sentencing judges ruled it would be manifestly unjust to do so.

Shane Pierre Harrison
Shane Pierre Harrison

Shane Pierre Harrison, 46, is appealing his conviction for murdering Alonsio Matalasi, 25, at Petone in August 2013. His previous convictions were for indecent assault and manslaughter.

Justin Vance Turner, 30, pleaded guilty to murdering Maqbool Hussain in Auckland in March, 2014. He'd had a first-strike warning for wounding a woman in 2011.

Crown lawyer Matthew Downs has outlined the safeguards in the three-strikes law, including age, the seriousness of the crimes that qualify for a strike warning and the manifestly unjust clause.

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The case in the Court of Appeal is being heard by a panel of five judges. Justice Ellen France is presiding.