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27 February 2017

New Zealand criminal lawyers seek review of murder charge time limit

The Criminal Bar Association in New Zealand has said it is in favour of extending the time limit for charging someone with homicide.


The association has made it clear that it does not want to leave the time period open-ended. However, it feels that a longer, but still fixed, timeframe should be put in place. The stance comes after a number of recent high-profile cases in which an individual was attacked or seriously assaulted and did not die immediately, but instead suffered serious injuries that resulted in death at a later date. In one such case, it was a full 15 months before the assault victm eventuallyy succumbed their injuries. Under present New Zealand laws, an individual cannot be held criminally responsible for a death if it happens more than a year and a day after the relevant offence.Criminal Bar Association President Len Andersen said that while ‘no one should have a charge of murder or manslaughter hanging over their head indefinitely…it would be useful to look at extending the current cut-off point.’


Justice Minister Amy Adams said the issue had not been raised with her before now, and she has asked officials to look into it. She said: ‘I think it is worth reviewing the way Section 162 of the Crimes Act works. I've asked my justice officials for advice, and they will report back to me in due course.' Source: Radio NZ

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