Crimes Amendment Act

Parliament is considering the Crimes Amendment Bill which will update the Crimes Act (1961) by repealing the following three outdated laws.

Protection of Spouses/Partners from Prosecution

It will repeal the law which protects people who help their spouse or civil union partners evade justice. This protection creates an anomaly in the law. It does not apply to other people in close personal relationships who are protecting someone. There is no justification to continue this immunity from prosecution where a person deliberately obstructs justice

Blasphemous Libel

It repeals ‘Blasphemous Libel’  which has not been prosecuted in New Zealand since 1922 and raises potential Bill of Rights Act concerns.

Year and a Day Rule

It also repeals the ‘year and a day rule’ which prevents people from being prosecuted for causing the death of a person who dies after that length of time. The rule, along with a range of other factors, was a potential bar to prosecution in the CTV building collapse following the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes. In that case the cause of death may have related to faulty building design which occurred many years prior to the building collapse.

With advances in medical science and life support machines that may keep victims alive for longer than a year and a day, there is no justification for this rule.  It dates to medieval times and has been repealed in other Commonwealth countries.

Find out more:

Timeline - Crimes Amendment Bill - Progress of the Bill(external link)

Bill - Crimes Amendment Bill(external link)

Submissions - Crimes Amendment Bill - Make a submission(external link)

Media Release - Justice Minister move year and day rule(external link)