Sex offender register 'won't name and shame'

By Amelia Romanos

Photo / Getty Images
Photo / Getty Images

A proposed sex offenders register would be kept private and would not name and shame, Police Minister Anne Tolley says.

Mrs Tolley is considering setting up a register following a case in which a child sex offender forged documents to get work as a teacher at several schools.

Terito Henry Miki, 40, this month pleaded guilty to seven charges of using a document for pecuniary advantage, and four of breaching supervision orders, after being recognised while working as a teacher.

He had previously been jailed on indecent assault and common assault charges relating to a 14-year-old.

Education Minister Hekia Parata has launched a ministerial inquiry into the case, which Mrs Tolley said had reinforced concerns she had previously had about how such offenders were being tracked.

"Whilst that inquiry's going on, I've asked both Corrections and the police to have a look at what are the systems we have in place, and how they believe we could better protect our communities from these offenders,'' she told APNZ.

"It's quite clear that the sharing of information is quite difficult, quite bureaucratic, and that does mean that some of them are able to slip through the cracks.

"The idea of a central register with all the offenders, with all their information, and then negotiate with the different agencies access to that information in a much more efficient manner, may well be a solution.''

Mrs Tolley said the register was not about naming and shaming, and that the information would not be made public.

"It is not about vigilantism,'' she said.

"When you look at what overseas jurisdictions have found, it just means people use that register for other purposes, to hound some of these people, when in fact they might be living quite sensible lives, they might be managing it quite well, they might be posing quite little risk.''

Mrs Tolley also noted that a number of the offenders would have name suppression, meaning that a public list would not provide full information anyway.

Labour justice spokesman Charles Chauvel said he would want to see evidence that such a list was needed before it was put in place.

"If the minister can show that there is a significant public safety problem out there, where there are convicted recidivist sex offenders at large who pose a risk to public safety, and who need to be listed on some sort of confidential register that officials can have access to, and if there's a proper safeguard system in place to stop people being wrongly entered on that register, or having the wrong details put on it, then we'd have a look at it,'' he said.

"But I think we're a long way from those pre-conditions actually, I don't think that the case is made.''

Mr Chauvel pointed out that Miki had used false details, and so a register would not have prevented him getting into the schools.

"A register wouldn't have stopped him. You'd need something more rigorous like a proper credentials checking process.''

- APNZ

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