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Hate Crimes added to Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill

Tue 11 Jun 2002 In: Features

It has finally passed and is up on Hansard. Hate Crimes were added to the Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill at the Select Committee stages of that Bill, after the submission I made in regard to the effects of Hate Crimes to the Justice and Electoral Committee, and prior to the report back to Parliament. I was the only submission that covered hate crimes, although after my submission the committee also sought advice from the Law Commission and Victim Support, both of whom supported the addition of Hate Crimes. The new subsection 9(h)(previously 9(ga)) is contained within section 9 of the Sentencing Act which deals specifically with aggravating and mitigating factors. It reads: (9) In sentencing or otherwise dealing with an offender the court must take into account thefollowing aggravating factors to the extent that they are applicable in the case: ... (g) that the victim was particularly vulnerable because of his or her health or because of any otherfactor known to the offender: (h) that the offender committed the offence partly or wholly because of hostility towards a group ofpersons who have an enduring common characteristic such as race, colour, nationality, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, or disability; and (i) the hostility is because of that common characteristic; and (ii) the offender believed that the victim has that characteristic. I believe this is the first time that hate crimes have to be taken into account specifically on the sentencing of an offender, though I am not sure about that. It is certainly different from the hatecrimes laws in Australia, which cover vilification, and those in America, which seek statistics. The addiction was hotly debated in the House, and the christian fundamentalists took the opportunity to attack me personally, rather than just attacking the idea of hate crimes. "The final vote was: Ayes 61 Labour 47 Alliance 10 Green Party 4 Noes 54 New Zealand National 39 ACT New Zealand 9 New Zealand First 5 United New Zealand 1 Majority for: 7 The Hansard records are available here: For the 2nd Reading: For the Committee Stages: For the Third Reading: For the passage of the Bill. The Bill comes into effect in 1 July 2002. Calum Bennachie - 11th June 2002    

Credit: Calum Bennachie

First published: Tuesday, 11th June 2002 - 12:00pm

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