Victim Impact Statement Must Be Rewritten |TODAY|
Submitted by dan. on 2007-05-16 11:20.
The son of murdered Tokoroa school teacher Lois Dear is outraged he cannot tell her killer exactly what he thinks of him... . He admits it contains some strong sentiments about Te Hiko and the judicial system, but he says Te Hiko needs to know he thinks of him.
However, victim impact statement guidelines state that personal remarks about the offender, or recommending a sentence, are inappropriate.
"Is murder appropriate?...Because a victim can't say what he wants, seems to say that murder is OK," says McNeil.
Police have asked McNeil to rewrite his statement four times, and Victim Support has admitted it suggested McNeil soften his statement.
Victim Support chief executive Maree Knight says the Victim Rights' Act sets out very clearly what can and cannot be said. She says all a statement can refer to is the physical or emotional impact of the crime, or any loss or damage to property.
Knight says because it is a court document it has to contain fact and not opinion.
"When they're getting into opinion or comment about the judicial or the police system, we say that's not appropriate for this document, and perhaps we can reword it," she says.
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