Murder case puts bail law in the dock

The grieving parents of a murdered teenager are seeking changes to the bail laws, reminding the National Party that it had promised a tougher Bail Act if elected to govern at the November 26, 2011 election.

Their campaign would generate a national debate as the new government introduces a bill to Parliament to amend the existing Act.

Brian and Tracey Marceau have established a Trust in the name of their murdered daughter Christie and have called for community help both in the form of moral and financial support.

They are hopeful that ‘Christie Law’ will make New Zealand safer.

But the campaign would commence only after the court decides on the case related to Christie’s death.

Their 18-year-old daughter Christie was murdered in their North Shore home on November 7, 2011.

The accused, 19-year-old Indian Akshay Anand Chand will stand trial and defend the charges of murder and kidnapping at the Auckland High Court next month. The North Shore District Court remanded him to custody on January 10, 2012.

According to available information, he kidnapped Christie on September 7, 2011, appeared before a court and was remanded to custody. He was released on bail on October 5 under strict conditions, which included no contacts with Christie or her family. He has been accused of having breached those conditions and visited Christie and killed her.

Speaking to Herald on Sunday, Mr Marceau blamed New Zealand’s bail laws for the death of his daughter. “The bail laws have directly stolen our daughter from us. Tracey and I will see if change can be brought about to ensure in our minds that Christie did not die in vain,” he said.

“We did not know anything about Chand’s bail until after Christie died. She would have been alive today if there were tougher bail laws,” they said.

He and his wife want stringent criteria for granting bail to those charged with serious offences, more rigorous risk assessment of offenders, increased power to the police and better consideration to the victims opposing bail.

Sensible Sentencing Trust director Garth McVicar agreed that changes were essential to the bail laws.

“We have a criminal-friendly legal process rather than a justice system. That has to change. We all have the right to live in safety,” he told the Herald on Sunday.

Donations can be remitted to Christie’s Law Trust bank account at Westpac (Account Number 03-0275-0644809-00).

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