New Zealand Law Society - Child Protection Act amendments passed with urgency

Child Protection Act amendments passed with urgency

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Amendments have been rushed through Parliament to ensure that more than 100 convicted child sex offenders taken off the register are put back on it.

The Child Protection (Child Sex Offender Government Agency Registration) Act 2016 amendments went through the House this week with the three reading stages and the committee stage all happening on Tuesday.

“Since the commencement of the register concerns have been raised that the Act may not provide for the registration of some child sex offenders as was intended,” says Police Minister Paula Bennett. “There are 107 offenders who have been taken off the register who were intended to be on it.

“The amendments are being introduced to Parliament to make clear that the registration requirements apply to all child sex offenders that were intended to be registered when the Act came into force on 14 October 2016.

“Where the legislation has been challenging is in the situations where offenders who were convicted before the law came into effect but not sentenced, and those sentenced before and on release conditions when the legislation came into effect,” says Mrs Bennett.

“To remove any doubt, we’re putting this through Parliament under urgency to ensure those that were always intended to be registered are done so as soon as possible.

“The 107 offenders have been monitored by Police and Corrections during the time they were taken off the register but there are certain additional conditions that they will now be subject to as a result of being placed back on the register,” she says.

There are three groups of offenders, the Bill states, who should be subject to the Act but to whom the legislation may not have applied:

  • child sex offenders serving short-term sentences (two years or less imprisonment) who had reached their statutory release date before 14 October 2016, had a sentence expiry date after 14 October 2016, and were subject to release conditions at 14 October 2016:
  • child sex offenders on long-term or short-term sentences of imprisonment who reached their sentence expiry date before 14 October 2016 and were on release conditions at 14 October 2016:
  • child sex offenders who were convicted of a qualifying offence before 14 October 2016 and—
    • sentenced to imprisonment after 14 October 2016; or
    • sentenced after 14 October 2016 to a non-custodial sentence and ordered by the court to be placed on the register.
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