Three strikes law passes
The controversial "three strikes" bill has just been passed into law.
The bill provides for repeat violent offenders to face maximum jail terms with no parole for a third conviction for one of 40 specified offence.
Under the graduating scale of sanctions within the law, murderers must be jailed for life with no parole if the murder conviction is for a second or subsequent "strike" offence, unless the judge rules a non-parole sentence would be manifestly unjust.
The law will see offenders who commit one of the 40 crimes sentenced as normal, with the usual parole eligibility, for a first strike.
A second strike will bring a sentence under normal criteria, but the jail term must be served with no parole unless doing so would be manifestly unjust.
A third strike will bring a maximum sentence for that crime, with no parole.
The 40 crimes in the schedule include murder, manslaughter, rape and other sexual offending and serious violence.
The Sentencing and Parole Bill that lays out the three strikes regime was opposed by a range of groups, including lawyers and prison reformers.
It passed with the support of National and Act, which made a three strikes bill a key part of its 2008 election campaign.
The Dominion Post