24 Jun 2013

Govt denies prisoners' law breaches UN convention

3:25 pm on 24 June 2013

Justice Minister Judith Collins is denying that prisoners' rights are being breached in new legislation which is the subject of a complaint to the United Nations.

The law allows victims of crime and the legal aid system to dip into compensation awarded to prisoners.

A complaint to be taken by Wellington human rights lawyer Tony Ellis alleges that the

legislation breaches a UN convention against torture and mistreatment of prisoners, which New Zealand has signed.

Mr Ellis says the law provides an extraordinary impunity for people who commit abuses against prisoners.

But Ms Collins said on Monday because the law doesn't stop the court awarding compensation for a breach of human rights, it doesn't break the UN Convention Against Torture.