11 Apr 2012

Detention plan hailed by stabbed officer

2:56 pm on 11 April 2012

A police officer paralysed when stabbed with a screwdriver says his attacker is a prime candidate for a plan to keep high-risk offenders locked up after the end of their prison sentence.

The Government wants to implement this election promise this year.

Under the law change, the High Court could issue orders to keep people assessed as at imminent risk of serious sexual or violent re-offending kept in custody past the end of their prison sentence.

Nigel Hendrikse was stabbed 19 years ago by John Gillies, who has 106 convictions, including offences committed while on parole.

Mr Hendrikse says it seems the Government had Gillies, who has been thumbing his nose at society and the Parole Board for years in mind.

The Howard League for Penal Reform says that while many people won't shed a tear for these criminals, the Government should not have free rein over their rights.

In a statement, Justice Minister Judith Collins says a small number of offenders are putting public safety in jeopardy.

The statement says Public Protection Orders are expected to affect up to 12 people over a 10-year period - most of them child sex offenders.

Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesperson Garth McVicar says he can think of at least 20 offenders who deserve to be kept in prison.

Release tipped

A retired detective who led the investigation into one of New Zealand's most notorious offenders, says it is unlikely that Stewart Murray Wilson will be kept in prison by the law change.

In 1996, Wilson was sentenced to 21 years for a 25 year spree of extreme sexual offending against women and girls.

Under the law change, a High Court order would keep people assessed as at risk of serious sexual or violent re-offending in custody until the Parole Board feels they are safe to release.

But former detective Colin McKay told Morning Report he believes Wilson is at high risk of re-offending, but it is unlikely the contentious law will be passed before his release date of September.

Law Society comment

Law Society president Jonathan Temm says the new legislation aimed may be going too far.

Mr Temm told Morning Report that existing legislation should be sufficient to manage the situation, but the Parole Board needs more power to control high-risk offenders after release.