A man sentenced to seven years in prison for kissing a woman on the street under New Zealand’s controversial ‘three strikes’ law has been awarded $450,000 in compensation by the government.
Daniel Fitzgerald, who has serious mental health problems, has been charged with lewd assault after he approached and kissed a stranger on the streets of Wellington. was convicted under the law of recently repealed lawwhich forced judges to impose sentences of up to seven years for crimes, despite mitigating factors, unless they were “clearly unjust”.
In 2021, after Fitzgerald spent more than four years in prison, the Supreme Court ruled that the Three Strikes Act disproportionately violated his rights. He was sentenced to re-imprison his six months.
The compensation outlined in Thursday’s High Court ruling is for the four years he has already served.
“Mr. Fitzgerald’s ruling was not merely disproportionate, it violated one of his most fundamental rights,” Justice Rebecca Ellis said in her ruling.
The judge also found that the crown prosecutor, who repeatedly refused to downgrade to a lesser charge, failed to exercise prosecutorial discretion to avoid the risk of Fitzgerald receiving a significantly disproportionate punishment.
Earlier this year, New Zealand’s Labor government repealed legislation brought in by the previous National Law and Rule of Law coalition.
“There was no evidence that it worked,” Justice Minister Kiritap Arang said. “It didn’t deter criminals and failed both taxpayers and victims because it ensured they stayed in the system longer.”
National and Act, who created the law during the last administration, have said they would reinstate the law if re-elected, which “means the worst repeat offenders spent longer in prison”.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/sep/29/new-zealand-man-jailed-for-seven-years-under-discredited-three-strikes-law-awarded-450000 A New Zealand man was jailed for seven years and awarded $450,000 under a discredited ‘three strikes’ law.new zealand