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Garrote them for shagging sheep

Written By: - Date published: 9:41 am, May 10th, 2009 - 39 comments
Categories: act - Tags: , , ,

The strange Sensible Sentencing Trust three-strikes bill put up by ACT’s David Garrett aka ‘Garrote‘ has some strange implications. Scott at Imperator Fish points out this one.

Even if lawmakers could accept the principle that after three serious offences you’re a goner, getting them to agree on what those offences should be would be next to impossible. If you scan through the offences listed at section 86A you’ll see that most of them are serious violent or sexual offences. But then you see listed the offence of compelling an indecent act with an animal.

Now I’m an animal lover (no, not that kind!), but, really, does someone who’s been amorous with a sheep on a lonely rural night really deserve to have a strike offence against their name?

Ah yes. Having such a blunt legal instument is going to have a number of these weird anomalies. Scott also points out that the Law Society submitted against the bill.

The Law Society’s main objections to the Bill appear to be:

  • an offender with two serious offences has nothing to lose by killing witnesses to the third offence
  • offenders on their third strike would have no incentive to plead guilty, so this might clog the courts
  • the extension of preventative detention in 2002 has given judges more power to impose longer sentences
  • the Bill permits judges not to impose a life sentence where it would be manifestly unjust to do so, but this sets the bar too high.

All very sensible objections. You have to wonder why the SST doesn’t think of such sensible ideas when advising David G on the bill. But ACT seem to be rapidly developing a reputation for producing poorly thought out simplistic proposals and laws – not really good material to form a government out of.

39 comments on “Garrote them for shagging sheep ”

  1. Bill 1

    Wow! An asphyxiophiles dream!

    But why limited to just the shagging of sheep?

    Would the simple act of the wearing of a woolly jumper while engaged in shagging be an argument for qualifying too?

  2. Lew 2

    tag: itsatrap.

    You’ve just been tricked into defending bestiality. Headline: Labour supporters condone livestock molestation.

    L

    • lprent 2.1

      Yeah I’m aware of that possible interpretation.

      Look down this list. Offhand I could be done for a few. For instance my first girlfriend when I was 14. Does robbery include shoplifting as a kid? Getting a bit stroppy while drunk (in particular an incident in the army comes to mind, plus a few at uni).

      Basically I can’t see how this bill if enacted will change anything except the level of the prison population upwards. Most put away under it will get there on 3 minor charges. The point about this is that the bill is way too blunt. I’m pretty sure that judges and juries will start to prefer not to convict rather than leave a technical violation. For instance 3 domestics with throwing involved.

      “(1) section 128B (sexual violation):
      “(2) section 129 (attempted sexual violation and assault with intent to commit sexual violation):
      “(3) section 129A(1) (sexual connection with consent induced by threat):
      “(4) section 130 (incest):
      “(5) section 131(1) (sexual connection with dependent family member under 18 years):
      “(6) section 131(2) (attempted sexual connection with dependent family member under 18 years):
      “(7) section 132(1) (sexual connection with child):
      “(8) section 132(2) (attempted sexual connection with child):
      “(9) section 132(3) (indecent act on child):
      “(10) section 134(1) (sexual connection with young person):
      “(11) section 134(2) (attempted sexual connection with young person):
      “(12) section 134(3) (indecent act on young person):
      “(13) section 135 (indecent assault):
      “(14) section 138(1) (exploitative sexual connection with person with significant impairment):
      “(15) section 138(2) (attempted exploitative sexual connection with person with significant impairment):
      “(16) section 142A (compelling indecent act with animal):
      “(17) section 172 (murder):
      “(18) section 173 (attempted murder):
      “(19) section 177 (manslaughter):
      “(20) section 188(1) (wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm):
      “(21) section 188(2) (wounding with intent to injure):
      “(22) section 189(1) (injuring with intent to cause grievous bodily harm):
      “(23) section 191(1) (aggravated wounding):
      “(24) section 191(2) (aggravated injury):
      “(25) section 198(1) (discharging firearm or doing dangerous act with intent to do grievous bodily harm):
      “(26) section 198(2) (discharging firearm or doing dangerous act with intent to injure):
      “(27) section 198A(1) (using firearm against law enforcement officer, etc):
      “(28) section 198A(2) (using firearm with intent to resist arrest or detention):
      “(29) section 198B (commission of crime with firearm):
      “(30) section 199 (acid throwing):
      “(31) section 208 (abduction for purposes of marriage or sexual connection):
      “(32) section 209 (kidnapping):
      “(33) section 232(1) (aggravated burglary):
      “(34) section 234 (robbery):
      “(35) section 235 (aggravated robbery):
      “(36) section 236(1) (causing grievous bodily harm with intent to rob or assault with intent to rob in specified circumstances):
      “(37) section 236(2) (assault with intent to rob).

      • Graeme 2.1.1

        Look down this list. Offhand I could be done for a few. For instance my first girlfriend when I was 14.

        No offence committed before the age of 18 can count as a strike.

        Does robbery include shoplifting as a kid?

        No. That’s theft; robbery involves violence or threats of violence.

        Getting a bit stroppy while drunk (in particular an incident in the army comes to mind, plus a few at uni).

        Not that I know the facts of the case, but this doesn’t seem like it would be serious enough. Simple assault isn’t included. Assault with intent to injure isn’t included. Assault with a weapon isn’t there. Injuring with intent to injure isn’t even there (this crime is a slight step above Veitch – even if he’d pleaded guilty to deliberately injuring Ms Dunne-Powell with the intention of causing the broken back that resulted, no matter his sentence – even if it was the maximum five years – it wasn’t serious enough to count as a strike.

        Did your stroppy encounter involve something more serious than breaking someone’s back? No? Probably fine then.

        Basically I can’t see how this bill if enacted will change anything except the level of the prison population upwards. Most put away under it will get there on 3 minor charges.

        Basically everything on the list is a serious charge. ACT’s original list, no, but everything there is serious. And here’s the important point … even if you’re convicted of one of these charges it only counts as a strike if the actual sentence imposed is five or more years in prison.

        Bruce Emery’s ‘slaughter of Pihema Cameron? Not serious enough.

        The point about this is that the bill is way too blunt. I’m pretty sure that judges and juries will start to prefer not to convict rather than leave a technical violation. For instance 3 domestics with throwing involved.

        There were problems with this sort around the ACT and sensible sentencing draft bills, there really aren’t problems of this sort with this bill. I do not want a three-strikes law, but if I was ever to support one, it would look like the emasculated bill this is. Injustice may occur, but it will be rare.

  3. Brett Dale 3

    Someone who abuses animals should have a strike against their name.

  4. marco 4

    Someone who commits beastiality should spend some serious time in a psychiatric ward because they just aint normal.

    I’m in favour of dangerous serial violent offenders being put away until the risk to society at large is over. However, I do agree that some debate over what constitutes a strike offence needs to happen as the law has the potential to become reactionary.

  5. marco 5

    Oh and one more thing…

    Why on earth does everyone head to Garth McVicor for comment. Who died and made him the default spokesperson for crime.
    I would like to see the press quote someone who actually knows what they are talking about or has dealt with victims of violent offending such as Norm Withers, the achitect of the referendum on tougher sentencing. Norm is a well spoken man who has dealt with the consequences of random violence. He is also a respected local politician so won’t be as prone to random comments.
    McVicor lost credibility once and for all when he backed the tagging killer, to me that just showed and inherent racism in his world view.

  6. Graeme 6

    Bestiality is not listed as a strike offence.

    Compelling an indecent act with an animal is listed as a strike offence.

    There is a major difference between these two crimes.

    Accepting that there might be a list of strike offences (something with which I disagree) compelling an indecent act with an animal is easily serious enough to qualify.

    Bestiality is having sex with an animal, compelling an indecent act with an animal is forcing someone else to have sex with an animal. If someone rapes someone, it’s a strike offence; if someone rapes someone with a broomstick, it’s a strike offence; but if someone rapes someone with a living horse, you don’t think it should be a strike offence. Why?

    • serpico 6.1

      “but if someone rapes someone with a living horse”

      What the hell, the mere thought of it is rather disturbing.

      • Graeme 6.1.1

        Damn straight. That’s why it’s on the list.

      • K- 6.1.2

        Don’t you mean the “mare” thought?

      • ak 6.1.3

        Yes, thanks awfully Graeme, delightful image for a Sunday afternoon…the inclusion of the “living” adjective is intriguing and begs the legal question…certainly a dead horse may overcome some obvious logistical difficulties (“you can lead a horse to….etc)…. but of course raise others, not the least of which being availability (though flogging a dead horse is presumably not a strike offence judging by ACT’s longevity….)

        • Graeme 6.1.3.1

          I suspect that if a dead horse was used it would be sexual violation (as with a broom stick), rather than compelling an indecent act with an animal.

          This distinction has needed explaining on a number of ‘blog threads. I tried to tone down the imagery for stuff (Colin Espiner made the same mistake), but it makes it a much more complicated thing to explain. I figured the Standard was up for it 🙂

          [lprent: Obviously. BTW thanks for the explanations, they are most useful. I have to confess that the title is what made me do the post. It appealed to my quirky sense of humour. But it allowed me to do a light post that concentrated on the edge effects of the current bill. ]

  7. Thanks Graeme for putting me straight on the compelling thing.

    One of the great pleasures of having a blog is the ability to say what you want and then, when you get it wrong, to quickly fix it up in the hope that nobody notices. I’ve left the blog post up, but with a corrective note.

    There are still plenty of flaws with the Bill, and the Nats have only ever been lukewarm over it. I expect the Bill may be quietly dropped at some point.

    • Lew 7.1

      SY,

      I expect the Bill may be quietly dropped at some point.

      I don’t. ACT’s (partial) support for the Wanganui gang patch ban was contra for National support on the 3 strike bill, so they’re signed up to it now.

      L

    • Graeme 7.2

      I expect the Bill may be quietly dropped at some point.

      Not quite. There are two rationales for the bill: it completes National’s obligation arising from its confidence and supply agreement with ACT to support a three-strike bill to select committee. But more importantly for National, it also includes the planks of their law & order policy – life means life for the worst murderers, and no parole for repeat serious violent offenders.

      You may be right about the third qualifying strike not being in the final bill, but the bill isn’t going in its entirety.

  8. Akldnut 8

    “(14) section 138(1) (exploitative sexual connection with person with significant impairment):
    “(15) section 138(2) (attempted exploitative sexual connection with person with significant impairment):

    What if two mentally impaired adults wanted to hook up and the parents or family of one were unhappy and complained to the police? Charge 14 or 15???

    captcha: 18 sinkhole…. down the gurgler

    • Graeme 8.1

      Akldnut – probably neither – it likely wouldn’t be exploitative, as that term is defined in section 138. It’s also not just any mental impairment, but rather, significant which also has a particular definition. In any event because the actual sentence that would be imposed in such a circumstance would be less than 5 years imprisonment, even though it was one of the strike offences, it wouldn’t count as a strike.

      • felix 8.1.1

        “In any event because the actual sentence that would be imposed in such a circumstance would be less than 5 years imprisonment, even though it was one of the strike offences, it wouldn’t count as a strike.”

        So what’s the reason for including such offences in the list of strike offences at all if they can’t result in sentences that would qualify them as a strike?

  9. Graeme 9

    felix – because sometimes that offence will be serious enough to get five years (and count as a strike). E.g. where the victim in a section 138 charge is severely mentally impaired, and the person taking advantage is not.

  10. toad 10

    Hey there, eveyone is arguing about the detail of this and ill-conceived and silly Bill.

    The bigger picture is that it is an affront to human rights.

    Everyone who is convicted of a serious offence should be provided the opportunity to be rehabilitated, and no-one convicted of a serious offence should be released from prison until either their sentence is served or the Parole Board finds they are no longer likely to offend.

    If sentences for some offences are not long enough, then make them longer. But let’s not have a catch-all provision like this that just keeps people locked up forever because they’ve been bad in their teens and 20s but may be able to lead totally law-abiding and respectable lives by the time they are in their 40s. Hell, I’ve got a few mates like that who were pretty rough diamonds in their younger days.

    Oh, and Lynn, great post, but please give me the credit for Garrett as “The Garrotte” – I did come up with it first before it was republished on the Standard. I’m not a silly right-winger who plays games with intellectual property rights, but still would appreciate a link to my original post when bloggers use it – only because I think it was one of my better attempts at parody.

  11. Pascal's bookie 11

    Ahem, cough, etc.

    I’ll see your 21st March Toad, and raise you the 11th. 😉

  12. Graeme 12

    Hell, I’ve got a few mates like that who were pretty rough diamonds in their younger days.

    Did that roughness include a 5 year+ prison term?

    No? Then this law doesn’t have any additional consequences for them.

  13. toad 13

    Um there is something wrong here: –

    Animal Welfare Act – s 28

    28 Wilful ill-treatment of animals
    (1) A person commits an offence who wilfully ill-treats an animal in such a way that—
    (a) The animal is permanently disabled; or
    (b) The animal dies; or
    (c) The pain or distress caused to the animal is so great that it is necessary to destroy the animal in order to end its suffering.
    (2) A person who commits an offence against this section is liable on conviction on indictment,—
    (a) In the case of an individual, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or to a fine not exceeding $50,000 or to both;…

    Crimes Act – s 143:

    143 Bestiality
    (1) Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who commits bestiality.

    (2) This offence is complete upon penetration.

    Without wanting to defend the sheep-shaggers, the the law is an ass in this regard:.

    Torture and mistreat an animal, over several weeks or months, until it eventually dies, and you’re up for only 3 years in prison at max.

    But shag it, which (and I’m not an animal psychologist so I my be wrong) probably causes only short-term distress to the animal, and you’re up for 7 years.

    I’m not sure if this justifies reducing the penalty for bestiality, but surely the penalty for wilful il;-treatment of animals should be increased.

  14. toad 14

    Graeme said: Did that roughness include a 5 year+ prison term?

    In several cases, yes. Although mainly drug offences which are not on the 3-strikes list. I guess even The Garrotte ackowledges that the War on Drugs has failed by not including those offences in the Bill.

    But I do recall a shoolmate (at about 14 years of age) being the subject of universal ridicule at school after being photographed rooting a pig!

    Should that – unpleasant as it is – really be an offence that could get someone locked up forever?

  15. Graeme 15

    But I do recall a shoolmate (at about 14 years of age) being the subject of universal ridicule at school after being photographed rooting a pig!

    Should that – unpleasant as it is – really be an offence that could get someone locked up forever?

    No.

    As I note above:

    1. Offending before the age of 18 doesn’t count.
    2. Bestiality isn’t on the list of offences to which the three-strikes regime applies.

  16. Rich 16

    So is gerbil insertion going to count as a strike? Or chicken licking?

    Or goldfish abuse?

  17. peteremcc 17

    Yawn,

    As Graeme has made clear, none of you properly understand the bill (have you even read it?).

    Also, David Garrett opposed the expansion of the list of offenses when National added more in.

    • Graeme 17.1

      Peter – Garrett doesn’t understand the bill either – he’s among those spreading the “bestiality=strike” error.

      And National also removed a whole bunch of offences. Why, under ACT’s bill, does a male threatening to push a woman count as a strike, but a male threatening to kill a woman not count as a strike? Why aren’t robbery or aggravated robbery on ACT’s list, despite armed robbery being used as a specific example of a crime that would count as a strike?

      Why is assaulting someone with the intent to injure them (but not actually injuring them) serious enough (maximum 3 years), but assaulting them with the intention of raping them not serious enough (maximum 14 years)?

      And why oh why would you include injuring by unlawful act? It’s an offence that applies to non-fatal hunting accidents, and forgetting to write peanuts on a list of ingredients…

      • peteremcc 17.1.1

        Yes he referred to bestiality on the day that it was added and reported as such.

        I don’t believe he’s been ‘spreading’ that since – probably because he had a chance to read it later that day?

        Secondly, nobody is saying the original bill was perfect and I agree with all your points. Obviously I can’t speak for David, but opposing National’s additions doesn’t automatically mean you oppose their subtractions too.

        • Graeme 17.1.1.1

          Yes he referred to bestiality on the day that it was added and reported as such.

          I don’t believe he’s been ‘spreading’ that since – probably because he had a chance to read it later that day?

          Bestiality was never added…

          The first mention I saw of this error was in an article by the Herald’s Patrick Gower (in which Garrett was quoted on the new extent of the crimes, but not directly quoted as saying bestiality – http://www.nzherald.co.nz/crime/news/article.cfm?c_id=30&objectid=10562445) on March 19; the bill was introduced and passed its first reading on February 18.

          As for not spreading it since – I refer you to the following website: http://www.act.org.nz/three-strikes/

  18. Whacky Lefty 18

    So beastiality isn’t a strike offence eh?

    Bloody Masons writting laws again, protecting their sacred rites with goats.

  19. Look, all we really want to know is how long until we can lock Garth McVicar up for flogging a dead horse?

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  • Speech to the Criminal Bar Association
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