Mother of murdered teen Jade Bayliss backs register for deported criminals
The mother of murdered Christchurch teenager Jade Bayliss says she is delighted the Government has created a register to keep tabs on deported criminals.
The new register of offenders deported to New Zealand, particularly from Australia, lists people who have been, or are about to be, sent back to New Zealand after being convicted of a crime, serving a prison term or having their visa cancelled on character grounds.
Justice Minister Amy Adams said the register would give government agencies greater oversight on people entering the country.
Tina Lawson (formerly Bayliss) has pushed for changes to legislation that would allow for better monitoring of serious offenders deported from Australia to New Zealand.
In 2011, her 13-year-old daughter Jade was murdered in her Barrington St home by Jeremy George McLaughlin – a man who had spent time in jail for the killing of a teenager in Australia before he was deported in 2001.
In February, Lawson started a petition on the website change.org calling for closer monitoring of violent criminals.
Since then, she has gathered nearly 40,000 signatures and vocal support from around the country.
Lawson said she was "gobsmacked" by Adam's announcement.
"It's fantastic. It's definitely a step in the right direction," she said.
In recent years, she felt like she had been "banging my head against a brick wall" as she fought for change.
McLaughlin was convicted of the manslaughter of Phillip Vidot, 14, and grievous bodily harm of Tyron Williams, crimes committed during a violent attack in Perth in 1995.
Lawson approached police with concerns about McLaughlin's behaviour four days before he killed her daughter.
She was unaware he had killed before and police were unable to tell her the details of his past because of constraints on what they can reveal about a person's criminal history.
Lawson was given trespass papers to serve against McLaughlin if he showed up at her home but never got the chance.
Adams said the register was one of three initiatives being developed.
"Justice officials across a number of agencies have been tasked with developing a legislative supervision regime for offenders who are deported to New Zealand after serving a prison sentence overseas," she said.
"In my view, we need the ability to impose similar monitoring and other conditions to those that would have applied if the sentence had been served in a New Zealand prison."
A system for sharing information about offenders with Australia is also being developed.