A public safety law potentially amounting to a life sentence, was double-punishment for past crimes, the Court of Appeal has been told.
A rare “full bench” of five judges was hearing a test case on Tuesday about the rights of mostly sex offenders who had finished their sentences but were still subject to restrictions, including three detained on prison grounds indefinitely under public protection orders.
But the case was also about the hundreds of people under extended supervision orders after their sentences because they were believed to be at a high risk of committing certain sexual offences or very high risk of committing certain violent crimes.
Lawyer Tony Ellis was speaking for one of the public protection order detainees, Mark David Chisnall, whose case is the vehicle for an application that public protection orders, and the much more common extended supervision orders, were inconsistent with various rights affirmed in the New Zealand Bill of Rights.
Public protection orders are civil orders, rather than criminal, and are potentially life-long but reviewed each year.