Jade’s Killing Spurs Rethink

Justice Minister Judith Collins’ plans to change trans-Tasman information sharing could mean a public register of serious criminals deported from Australia. The murder of Christchurch teenager Jade Bayliss has really focused everyone’s minds on ensuring the new law becomes a reality. The change would allow Australian authorities to hand over border-control information to New Zealand police–including criminal convictions. At present, New Zealand police are told only that an offender is being deported from Australia, but they are not told of his/her criminal convictions. If they want that information, they have to request it through Interpol. Unless there is a serious threat to life, police cannot pass on an offender’s history, even if a member of the public asks for it. Collins’ plan would also have officials deciding whether the public should have access to criminal records by request or with an open register for serious offenders. Discussions about the potentially life-saving new legislation have already been held between officials in Australia and New Zealand and it will be presented to cabinet in the near future. However, Collins warned that it could take a long time to get through Parliament.

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