New Zealand Death Penalty Laws

Prime Minister Helen Clark today announced that New Zealand is working with other countries to introduce a resolution at the United Nations to abolish the death penalty worldwide. Over the next five years, there were seven more executions, as well as a number of pardons, and Engel suggests that it was often difficult to understand why, when comparing murder cases, some were not pardoned. In the case of a young man described as a „bodgie“[b] who was tried for murder and then executed, the executive`s decision to execute was influenced by reports that „the bodgie lifestyle was idle, violent and promiscuous“[10] and that it was necessary to make an example of this young man. Organized opposition to the death penalty during this period led to the creation of a National Committee in 1956, partly as a result of a particular case in which the prisoner`s „childish qualities and socially disadvantaged background“ revealed contradictions related to the pardon decision-making process. Around the same time, a „truth“ article appeared detailing an execution, supposedly to promote the chilling aspects of hanging, but with the ulterior motive of „conveying to the public the dirty reality of hanging and highlighting the effects it had on many of those responsible.“[12] The last paragraph of the article stated: „The only moral ground on which the State could have the right to destroy human life would be whether it was essential for the protection or maintenance of other lives. This shifts the burden of proof to those who believe that the death penalty has a deterrent effect on the potential criminal. If they cannot prove that the death penalty actually protects other lives at the cost of one life, there is no moral justification for the state to take lives. [26] In New Zealand, the struggle at the public level has focused on the issue of deterrence. Both sides have valid arguments to make.

There is evidence that the death penalty can act as a deterrent in some cases, although the most frequently cited New Zealand cases are not convincing. On the other hand, statistics show that the form of punishment has no demonstrable influence on the number of murders. What has probably contributed more than anything else to its abolition in New Zealand is the growing conviction that the situation in which the fate of a convicted murderer depends not on his crime but on the political colour of the government in power is intolerable. This undoubtedly influenced many who had not been convinced by the arguments of the abolitionists. 7 Power to refuse to impose the death penalty [lifted] „The resolution will call on countries to establish a global moratorium on executions as a first step towards the definitive abolition of the death penalty. Its passage would be an important step in the abolition campaign,“ said Helen Clark. The abolition of the death penalty had long been Labour Party`s policy and, after it came to power in 1935, all death sentences were commuted. This policy was confirmed in 1941 by the abolition of the death penalty for murder. In 1950, the ruling National Party reinstated it, and from 1951 to 1957 there were 18 murder convictions and eight executions. From 1958 to 1960, the death penalty was abolished by a Labour government through the automatic exercise of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy.

Finally, in 1961, by a free vote in parliament, in which 10 members of the national government voted with the opposition, the death penalty was removed from the code of law, with the exception of high treason. At the time of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, when New Zealand became a British colony, the most recent legislation on the death penalty in England and now in New Zealand was the Punishment of Offences Act (1837), which abolished the death penalty for a number of offences, including cattle rustling. and had replaced it with punitive transportation for life. [8] However, some capital crimes remained in the British law books, including murder, treason, espionage, arson in the royal shipyards, and piracy by force. [9] Any request involving the imposition of the death penalty is taken very seriously. Section 27(2)(ca) of MACMA states that the Attorney General may refuse a request for assistance in prosecuting or punishing a person for an offence for which the person may or has been sentenced to death. However, assistance may continue to be provided if the Attorney-General is satisfied that the death penalty will not be imposed or, if imposed, will not be carried out. The death penalty in New Zealand – the process of sentencing those sentenced to death for the most serious crimes (capital crimes) and carrying out that sentence ordered by a legal system[1] – first appeared in a codified form when New Zealand became a British colony in 1840. It was first carried out in 1842 with a public hanging in Victoria Street in Auckland, while the last execution took place in 1957 at Mount Eden Prison, also in Auckland.[2] [3] A total of 85 people were executed in New Zealand. [4] The report attacked the theory of deterrence; suggested that the death penalty ignored the principle of all penalties, namely offender reform; discussed the risk of a miscarriage of justice that could result in the execution of an innocent man; and highlighted the „great pressure of the execution process on civil servants and the resulting detailed health failures“[23].

The moral arguments against the death penalty have been supplemented by John Bright`s saying that „the best way to cultivate respect for human life is not to take it in the name of the law“.[24] An Act to abolish the death penalty and to amend the Crimes Act 1961, the Armed Forces Discipline Act 1971, the Exdelivery Act 1965 and the Fugitive Offenders Act 1881 (United Kingdom) The arguments of supporters and opponents of the death penalty are variants of some fundamental arguments. Some in favour of it rely on the assertion that it is a more effective deterrent. Others claim that execution, deterrent or not, is the only appropriate punishment for certain murders. These have their counterpart in abolitionists, who claim that the death penalty can never be justified. However, most opponents of the death penalty deny the need to protect society or stress the danger of executions of innocent people. The offences punishable by death in New Zealand were, under English common law, „murder, treason and piracy“. The Labour Party had spoken out against the death penalty and commuted all death sentences to life imprisonment after taking office in 1935. This policy was confirmed in 1941 by the abolition of the death penalty for murder.

The national government restored it in 1950, and from 1951 to 1957 there were 18 murder convictions and eight executions. Labour returned to power at the end of 1957 and abolished the death penalty the following year. A 2004 poll by 1 News Colmar Brunton found that 28% were in favour of reintroducing the death penalty, 67% did not want to reinstate the death penalty and 5% were undecided. [50] In a 2013 Curia poll conducted for TV3`s The Nation, 38% of New Zealanders supported the death penalty – a nominal increase from 28% in 2004 – while 55% were against and 7% were undecided.

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