Death of daughter 'like a life sentence'

SHANE COWLISHAW
Last updated 05:00 30/05/2012
Tracey Marceau
Fairfax NZ
TRACEY MARCEAU: 'The pain we endure is unbearable.'

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Losing her daughter has been like a "life sentence", and Tracey Marceau wants the Government to make sure it never happens to another family.

Auckland teenager Christie Marceau, 18, was allegedly murdered by Akshay Chand in her home last November. He will stand trial in October.

At the time Chand was on bail on charges of kidnapping and assaulting her two months earlier. He had been freed by a judge to a property within a kilometre of the Marceau home, despite opposition from police.

Furious at what they perceive as a failure of the justice system, the Marceau family joined the Sensible Sentencing Trust to form the group Christie's Law to lobby for tighter bail laws.

Their first step has been getting support for the changes. A petition with 58,000 signatures was presented at Parliament yesterday.

In tears as she addressed the crowd, Mrs Marceau said the death of her daughter had ruined her life.

"The pain we endure every day is horrible and almost unbearable, a true life sentence.

"For me it's just getting out of bed in the morning. I haven't been back to work since it happened and it's completely destroyed my life."

She had angry words for the judge who had granted Chand bail and demanded to know why her daughter's right to lead a full life had not been taken into account.

The Government has moved to tighten bail rules, and the Bail Amendment Bill goes before a select committee in July.

It proposes to reverse the burden of proof for offenders charged with certain offences, meaning they will have to prove they are not a danger to the public before being granted bail.

But these changes are not enough for Mrs Marceau, who says it is unclear whether they would have kept the man accused of killing her daughter in custody.

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- The Dominion Post

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