28 May 2013

Lawyer says sex offender law breaches Bill of Rights

8:14 pm on 28 May 2013

The lawyer representing sex offender Stewart Murray Wilson says a proposed law preventing violent and sexual offenders from living or working near their victims could breach the former inmate's human rights.

Legislation creating new non-contact orders will be introduced to Parliament this week.

The bill would apply to offenders jailed for five or more years and impose restrictions on where a criminal lives and works after they are released.

Barrister Andrew McKenzie who represents Wilson, dubbed the Beast of Blenheim, says a non-contact order that excludes an offender from an area is a breach of their right of movement under the Bill of Rights.

Mr McKenzie says excluding an offender from the only community they know could derail their rehabilitation by cutting them off from family and support networks.

But Justice Minister Judith Collins said on Tuesday she's heard enough about criminals rights from lawyers like Mr McKenzie and rejects his argument.

"Frankly, I've had enough of listening to people like the lawyer for the Beast of Blenheim, worrying about their rights - and I am far more concerned about victims and their rights."

The executive director of anti-violence agency SHINE, Jane Drumm, says after serving their sentence some offenders take pleasure in intimidating their victims.

And Cheryl Tovizi, the mother of murder victim Alexsis Tovizi, says the bill should be altered so a victim can apply for a non-contact order before an offender is released.