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.