Retroactive legislation wanted on 'Beast'
Tue, 28 Aug 2012 6:01p.m.
By Janika ter Ellen
Justice Minister Judith Collins wants retroactive legislation which would mean Stewart Murray Wilson, the serial sex offender known as the Beast of Blenheim, could be recalled to jail.
Ms Collins says she'll push for a bill to allow for public protection orders, or a concept known as civil detention, to also cover former prisoners like Wilson subject to extended supervision orders. That would mean Wilson could again be detained.
On the eve of his release, Unit Five at Whanganui Prison's cluster of as self-care houses is ready for his arrival. More black polyurethane has been erected on makeshift fences to give him privacy.
But Ms Collins would prefer he isn't freed.
“Somebody with the sort of offending history of Stewart Murray Wilson, who has shown no remorse and is considered to be of extreme danger to members of the public, that is the sort of person who is likely to be subject to one of these orders,” says Ms Collins.
They would be called public protection orders and would allow a High Court judge to review the cases of former prisoners subject to extended supervision orders – where very dangerous offenders are monitored even after their parole ends.
They would be re-assessed by a judge in a civil, rather than criminal, proceeding, and if they're considered too dangerous, locked up again. That means it's essentially retroactive.
“I don't want these people out,” says Ms Collins.
Such orders, also known as civil detention, had been proposed by Ms Collins during the 2008 election campaign when she was Corrections Minister.
But this is the first time she has acknowledged that she wants them to apply retroactively to people like Wilson.
There is bound to be plenty of opposition. Human rights lawyers 3 News spoke to described the suggestion of retroactive legislation as barbaric – a breach of the Bill of Rights and the Sentencing Act. But Judith Collins says it will be a balance between offenders’ rights and the rights of victims, and she sides with the victims.
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29/08/2012 7:17:09 p.m.
All their efforts won't mean a thing if a vigilante decides to take the law into his own hands. The effort in Turangi is a perfect example. Can understand public attitude towards Wilson but he has served his prison time and entitled to freedom. Maybe its a good thing that he lives on prison grounds but will there be a measure of safety for both Wilson and the public?
29/08/2012 12:56:57 p.m.
We are seeing a lot more legislation of a populist type in recent months. Clearly it is intended to get the masses clapping and cheering more than anything else. Drug testing beneficiaries and crashing cars are other examples. The public love this sort of thing and it gets votes at election time!
29/08/2012 9:51:26 a.m.
His behaviour is not that of a "normal" person and a good proportion of our "criminals" are mentally ill so it would appear likely that he is mentally ill and therefore in need of treatment someone with a mental illness may not recognise the illness, but still needs treatment and it is shameful that after doing a long stretch in prison, the guy was offered very little psychiatric treatment or sex offending treatment why because he didn't recognise his guilt or need for treatment.
29/08/2012 7:19:29 a.m.
What Judith Collins is proposing is wrong. He has done his time, now he is still subject to intense scrutiny and for how long, another 10 years? This is enough. Ms Collins is just shooting from the hip without even giving the matter serious thought.
29/08/2012 2:11:00 a.m.
Incarcerating sex offenders, sociopaths and those with anti-social personalities is a waste of time and money without a plan for the long term. Generally speaking, these people are for the most part untreatable and will simply reoffend once their term is up. There are better options out there, in my opinion.
28/08/2012 10:55:06 p.m.
Who cares. Honestly, he can come and live next door to me. He is old and everyone knows what he looks like, it's not like he would get the opportunity to offend even if he wanted to. Judith Collins is doing this in the hopes of gaining favor and what she is proposing is unconstitutional and wrong. If you are going to pass such extreme and ridiculous laws apply them to some murderers who always reoffend while on bail when they shouldn't be. I would have thought a house on prison grounds no matter in which community would be perfect for this guy,especially with conditions attached. Most sexual offenders are family members and are not prevented from reoffending with huge publicity like in this instance. People seem to think it's a matter of national pride here to want to lynch sex offenders. It's weird and embarrassing. If I had kids and lived in Wanganui, I would merely show them his photography and explain that he is a bad man and not to speak to him etc. It's pretty simple. People in New Zealand need to grow up and get a life. This nation which could be the coolest little country on earth is just hidebound by ridiculous inconsistency especially in legislation, lack of debate and good reason and primative knee jerk reactions to the irrelevant.
28/08/2012 9:14:16 p.m.
Retroactive legislation is one issue. This legislation would also constitute a bill of attainder since it is an act of the legislature directly targeting him in order to send him back to prison without the benefit of another trial. This was one of the many abuses of Parliamentary power that started the War of Independence in the US. We should not let our fear of one man lead to this wanton abuse of state power.
28/08/2012 9:08:57 p.m.
David, your right. However, I am somewhat annoyed that Micheal Laws has got on the band wagon about this when he seems quite content to brush aside the fact that one of his Wanganui folk is living a content life on prison grounds down here in Christchurch after doing similar things. Whats the differnece?
28/08/2012 8:48:24 p.m.
trhe DR wrote:
@ david and the law is wrong a dog bites a kid in nz and we get new laws and the dog is put down who will put this dog down? And this dog is still in denial, Which one is more dangerous? David
28/08/2012 7:32:35 p.m.
If the law says he must be freed, he must be freed. Whether people like it or not.
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