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Otago Academics Give Evidence to Parliament on Post-sentence Detention Orders

Monday 6 January 2014 9:41am

An Otago-led group of academics and practitioners has given evidence to Parliament about proposed post-sentence detention orders.

The group, led by Colin Gavaghan (Law) and John McMillan (Bioethics), and funded by the New Zealand Law Foundation, assembled experts in law, ethics, psychology and psychiatry to assess the proposed Public Safety (Public Protection Orders) Bill. The Bill proposes to allow for the potentially indefinite detention of people deemed to be 'dangerous' once they have reached the end of their prison sentence.

On Thursday, Prof McMillan and A/Prof Gavaghan, together with Dr Armon Tamatea of Waikato University, appeared before the Justice and Electoral Select Committee to present the group's findings. The group's submission identifies concerns about principle and practicality. It has flagged up issues regarding compatibility with the Bill of Rights Act, assessed evidence from analogous programmes in Australia, and raised doubts as to whether the proposal will in fact increase public safety.