Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Abusers of the elderly should receive mandatory jail time...


Grey Power calls for mandatory jail time for assaults on old people, but NZ Law Society president Jonathan Temm says it won't stop the problem.

 Grey Power wants those who bash the elderly to serve at least three years behind bars, but a prominent lawyer says this won't curb offending.
Grey Power's comments come after 82-year-old retired policeman Jack Morrisey was bashed in his Wainuiomata home on Tuesday by two teenagers wielding a wooden baton.
National president, Roy Reid, says anyone convicted of assaulting an elderly person should automatically face a mandatory minimum prison term of three years.
"In the last 50 years attitudes toward elderly have gradually changed and today, lack of respect and lack of consideration is evident," he said.
"Older people should feel safe in their homes particularly if they live alone."
Mr Reid also says this mandatory sentence could be extended to those who assault on-duty police officers.
However, Rotorua barrister and New Zealand Law Society president Jonathan Temm says although he sympathises with Grey Power, having a mandatory sentence will not curb offending as those who offend do not generally consider the consequences.
Mr Temm says the age of a victim and location of an offence are already taken into account under the Sentencing Act 2002.
He says all New Zealanders deserve to feel safe in their homes and one group shouldn't be given special recognition.
He says the nation needs to look beyond prison sentences - which costs the state $90,000 a year per prisoner - to influence people to take the right path.
"My own view as a lawyer of 20 years is that there are some dangerous people that need to be locked up... but the bulk of prisoners, more than 80 per cent, should be treated in some other way."
"Locking people up doesn't produce the results that the Grey Power people think it does."
Justice Minister Judith Collins told NZ Newswire the age of a victim could be taken into account as an aggravating factor when offenders were sentenced.
"It's generally taken into account... I would need to look at that more fully before I make any other comment," she said.

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