3 Strikes Law

Family First NZ says that the proposed scrapping of the Three Strikes Law will only be celebrated by repeat violent offenders, but it will do nothing to protect families and communities from worsening levels of family harm, violent crimes and gun violence.

Read our media release here. Only 25% of New Zealanders support the repeal of this law, according to polling done in November 2021.

Three Strikes operates on 2 angles – to those it can deter, it deters. To those it can’t deter, it incapacitates for longer periods to protect the public. Pretty simple.

And criminals aren’t stupid. They are well aware of the law and its consequences. 

But if the regime is scrapped, the government is in danger of sending a message that we’re not serious about the It’s Not OK zero-tolerance message on family violence, or zero tolerance on gun violence or sexual assault.

Below is a selection of offenders that currently sit on 2 or 3 ‘strikes’. These are the types of offenders who’ll escape maximum sentencing if the 3 Strikes Law is scrapped. Thanks to David Farrar (Kiwiblog) for sharing this information with us.

The best and most obvious way to protect the community from repeat violent offenders and from gun violence is to incapacitate the offenders. You can’t commit crimes against families and communities if you’re in prison. They are effectively being given two chances to stop their violent behaviour. For many its not Strike 3 – it’s sometimes Strike 17 or Strike 29.

Making a submission

You can make a submission, opposing the Three Strikes Legislation Repeal Bill, here

Note – The closing date for submissions is 11.59pm Friday, 07 January 2022

NZ Crime Statistics

Go to this page to read summaries of the latest NZ crime statistics.

NZ Crime Statistics and the ‘3 Strikes Law’

 

Examples of Recidivist Offenders

EXHIBIT A is a second striker.  He attempted to murder a man by shooting him with a shotgun. The victim was lucky to survive.  That was his second strike offence.

Ironically the attempted murder took place at a hostel for prisoner rehabilitation!

His first strike was an aggravated robbery in which he and another offender terrorised a shopkeeper in their antique shop.  He committed his first strike offence while on bail.

He has 129 criminal convictions.  He is a very dangerous man and a hard-core recidivist offender.

Under Three Strikes, he has to serve his entire 10 years, 2 months term of imprisonment, without being released early on parole.  Three Strikes keeps him in prison until at least July 2026.

Without Three Strikes he would be eligible for parole after just 3 years, 4 months imprisonment – around September next year – almost 7 years less than under Three Strikes.  The sentencing Judge suggested that without Three Strikes, a minimum term of 40% – or 4 years – would have been imposed.  That’s only 6 months more than the bare minimum!

How many more victims will he create in those extra 7 years he gets to be out in the community? Does anyone think he is going to stop at offence no. 130?

EXHIBIT B is a second striker.  He is currently serving a 7 years 6 months term of imprisonment for his second strike offence of aggravated wounding, and importing methamphetamine (not a strike offence). The methamphetamine was believed to be worth over $180,000.  He committed his second strike offence while in custody, soon after being arrested and appearing in court on the methamphetamine charges.  He repeatedly punched and kicked the police sergeant escorting him, battering him unconscious. He also assaulted two other police officers who intervened.

The police sergeant assaulted retired from the force after this attack.

His first strike offence was for kidnapping for which he was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment.  He and some of his gang associates confronted a business owner and detained him against his will while threatening him with a sharpened screwdriver held to his throat.

A gang member, he has a very extensive list of criminal convictions according to the Judge who last sentenced him, however the exact number is unknown. We do know they include “offences of serious violence” and started at age 16. Three strikes prevents him being released early by the Parole Board as he must serve his second strike sentence without eligibility for parole.

Under Three Strikes, he will remain in prison, ineligible for parole, for at least two more years than if Three Strikes was not in force.

EXHIBIT C is currently serving a “Second Strike” sentence of 12 years and 9 months imprisonment without the possibility of parole for bashing and sexually violating an 87 year old grandmother in her own home in Napier in 2013.  Later the same day, he burgled a 73 year old woman’s home with the intention of sexually assaulting her.  He was on parole at the time of this offending.

His first strike offence was for kidnapping for which he was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment.  He and some of his gang associates confronted a business owner and detained him against his will while threatening him with a sharpened screwdriver held to his throat.

A gang member, he has a very extensive list of criminal convictions according to the Judge who last sentenced him, however the exact number is unknown. We do know they include “offences of serious violence” and started at age 16.

Three strikes prevents him being released early by the Parole Board as he must serve his second strike sentence without eligibility for parole.

Under Three Strikes, he will remain in prison, ineligible for parole, for at least two more years than if Three Strikes was not in force.

In 2008, he was imprisoned for a home invasion burglary in which he targeted a young woman to whom he was attracted.  He has numerous prior convictions, including others for burglary.  He is a hard core recidivist.

The sentencing Judge for his second strike didn’t think his record of offending was serious enough to invoke “preventive detention” – an open-ended sentence that may mean indefinite imprisonment for the public’s protection.  Thank goodness for Three Strikes, which steps in at this point.

Without the Three Strikes law, he would be eligible for release by the Parole Board, who got it so badly wrong when they let him out in 2013, after just 4 years and 3 months.

Eligible for release – under Three Strikes:

Around July 2026 (current situation) (8 more years)

 Eligible for release – without Three Strikes:

Eligible for parole January 2018 (if Three Strikes repealed)*

* Note the Judge said he would have imposed an eight year non parole period if the three strikes law had not been in place. It is unclear if it is repealed if an indication by a Judge could be applied retrospectively.

EXHIBIT D is a second striker.  He is currently serving a sentence of 3 years and 10 months imprisonment for violently attacking a prison officer, wounding him with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. That was his second strike offence, which he committed while serving his first strike sentence.

His first strike offence was also for attacking a prison officer, leaving him brain damaged and unable to work again.  The officer had two skull fractures, a fractured eye socket and damage to his right eye and brain. He received a sentence of 10 years, 6 months imprisonment for that violent offending.  He committed his first strike offence while serving a sentence in prison.

Even in court he was violent, smashing into walls and shouting obscenities.

So both strike offences have happened while in jail. Sadly prison officers are at risk from him, but at least the rest of society is protected.

He has nearly 50 criminal convictions, including convictions for robbery and aggravated robbery.  He is a repeat violent offender and has destroyed the life of at least one prison officer doing his job, and violently assaulted many others.  Aged in his mid-30s, he has many years of violence and mayhem ahead of him is he is allowed out in the community early.  Three strikes prevents him being released early by the Parole Board.

Under Three Strikes, he has to serve his entire 3 years 10 months term of imprisonment, without being released early on parole.  Three Strikes keeps him in prison for an additional two and a half years. Otherwise he would be eligible for parole after just one year and three months.

EXHIBIT E is a second striker.  According to the last High Court Judge who sentenced him in 2017, he is currently serving a set of sentences totalling about 21 years for repeated serious violences.  His second strike offence was for wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, committed on a fellow prisoner, for which he received a sentence of 6 years 9 months imprisonment.  He committed his second strike offences while in prison serving his first strikes sentences.

His latest sentence was for assault with a weapon after attacking another prisoner with a 30-40cm long ‘shank’ – prison slang for an improvised, sharpened weapon. After he nearly killed the prisoner by stabbing him 18 times, he did a shirtless victory parade of the cell block. Am sure he’ll respond well to rehabilitation eh. 

His first strike offence was for the aggravated robbery of a suburban dairy, which he committed with his brother.  They attacked not just the employee on duty but also based a person outside the store into unconsciousness. For that, and other offending, he received a sentence of 10 years 6 months imprisonment.  Aggravated robberies of dairies can have devastating consequences for the victims. Apart from the obvious violence suffered, the psychological impact is often huge, and financially can be crippling on people often barely able to eke out a living from running their dairy, working long hours, 7 days a week.  When sentenced for this offending in 2013, the court had to have 13 police and security officers in court to ensure he and his brother, who was also being sentenced, behaved themselves.  Both were heavily manacled for the sentencing.

He has at least 68 criminal convictions stretching back to 1997.  He is or has been a member of gangs.  The judiciary considered imposing Preventive Detention on him in 2014, but failed to do soThree strikes prevents him being released early by the Parole Board as he must serve his entire second strike sentences without eligibility for parole.

Under Three Strikes, he will remain in prison, ineligible for parole, until 2028.

EXHIBIT F is a rapist and second striker.  He is serving a 9 year sentence of imprisonment for raping a woman while participating in a prison “work to release” programme, operating “outside the wire”.  He committed his second strike offence while in prison serving his first strike sentence.

His first strike offence was for an attack woman using a knife and in which he choked and threatened to kill her.  This attack, for which he was convicted of wounding with intent to injure, was committed in breach of a protection order.  For that offending, he was sentenced to 2 years 8 months imprisonment.

He has dozens of criminal convictions, many for violence against women. Earlier offending includes beating his pregnant partner so badly she miscarried her twins. He has violent convictions at least in 2003, 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Three strikes prevents him being released early by the Parole Board as he must serve his entire second strike sentence without eligibility for parole.

Under Three Strikes, he will serve up to 6 years more than he could without Three Strikes, and women are safe from him until at least May 2023.

EXHIBIT G is a second striker.  Based in the Bay of Plenty, he is a repeat bank robber, recidivist burglar and sexual offender.  He has at least 6 convictions for burglary for which he has served numerous sentences of imprisonment.  With police clearance rates for burglary at between 10-15% of reported burglaries, he may have in fact burgled dozens of houses in his busy criminal career.  Currently aged around 26, he is a high risk offender and has many years of serious burgling ahead of him.

His second strike offences were the aggravated robbery of a Tauranga bank just 5 days after the aggravated robbery of a local dairy in which he used a double-barrelled shotgun.  He in fact loaded the shotgun in front of the dairy worker, ensuring the threat was very real.  For these crimes, he was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment. He committed these second strike aggravated robberies while on bail for his first strike offence.  Aggravated robberies of dairies can have devastating consequences for the victims.  The psychological impact is often huge, especially being threatened with a weapon, and financially can be crippling on people often barely able to eke out a living from running their dairy, working long hours, 7 days a week.

His first strike offence was for unlawful sexual connection with a young person, an extended member of his own family, an offence carrying a maximum sentence of up to 10 years, but for which he received just 6 months imprisonment.

By age 22, he had at least 21 criminal convictions including male assaults female, wilful damage & assault 

He appears to have a strong sense of entitlement to do as he pleases, whether it is breaking into people’s homes, relations with underage girls, assaulting people or helping himself to other people’s money at suburban banks at the end of a shotgun.

Under Three Strikes, he will remain in prison, ineligible for parole, until at least July 2020. Without it, he might already be out.

Our First 3 Strikes Sentence …

EXHIBIT H got to seven years’ imprisonment for wounding with intent to injure after stabbing a man in the leg while on bail.

He has 14 previous convictions, including six for violent offending.

In 2012, the 26-year-old was sentenced to five months’ home detention and was given his first-strike warning for a vicious assault using a piece of wood.

In 2014, he was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and given his second-strike warning for stalking and sexually assaulting a 17 year-old girl.

He was also sentenced to four months’ imprisonment for domestic violence assaults in March 2018.

Prior to 2010, he would have only received jail time of two years and three months. As a result of the three-strikes law, he was jailed for seven years.

SOURCE

EXHIBIT I is a third striker.

His third strike is for breaking into a house, demanding money from the victim, punching him and then shooting him in the left knee.

The gang member has over 60 convictions. They include seriously assaulting his partner in 2010 and threatening to shoot Police, as his first strike. 

The judge sentenced him to just 10 months’ prison and ordered the destruction of the firearm and cannabis. Not clear what the second strike is for, but it may have been assault within a prison.

Justice Clark says that for his latest offending, the sentence without three strikes would be a mere 2 years and one month, and possibly even be out in nine months!

Thanks to the Three Strikes law, he has a sentence of seven years. Incredibly, he was still allowed a non-parole period by the judge.

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