Taupo MP Louise Upston is determined her Members Bill to increase the rights of victims of insane offenders will be dealt with quickly when Parliament resumes, whoever is in Government.
Ms Upton was in Nelson today and met with Wendy Hamer, the local woman who was behind the petition to get more rights for victims of insane offenders. Wendy was kicked scalded and stabbed in an attempted murder in Nelson during which her attacker told her he would get off on an insanity plea. He was later committed as a special patient without trial.
“I have seen cases in my own electorate where the victims and their families have been let down by our justice system. National is committed to changing it so there will be no doubt about who is guilty of committing the act. For some, recognising the criminal act can be considered closure for the victim and victim’s families,” Ms Upston says.
“The bill aims to rename the verdict ‘not guilty on account of insanity’ with the new verdict acknowledging that the offender did commit the criminal act. It also ensures victims of such crimes get the same rights as others like Victim Impact Statements and consultation on decisions of release, leave and placement of the offender.
Nelson MP Nick Smith presented Wendy’s petition with more than 1400 signature last year.
“National wants to put victims first. We were encouraged to see this bill get the support of all parties when it was introduced in July,” Dr Smith says.
“I am working with Wendy to get as many submissions as possible in support. We have seen the number of not guilty by insanity pleas increase dramatically over the past decade and the risk is further injustices like those Wendy suffered.
“We are determined to see this bill passed next year for Wendy Hamer, Graham Moyle and many other people.”