Once a person is convicted of a crime, the Court must sentence
the offender to an appropriate punishment and to pay reparation to
the victim for any personal injury or property damage suffered
because of the crime.
A reparation sentence is a form of civil damages the offender
must pay. In the 2009 Supreme Court decision of Peter Miles Davies
v New Zealand Police, the Supreme Court held that reparation
sentences cannot top-up a victim's ACC entitlements. In other
words, if the victim has suffered personal injury covered by ACC,
the victim cannot make up any shortfall in the entitlements
received from ACC by way of a reparation sentence.
The Minister of Justice, Simon Power, has recently announced
that the Government intends to amend the Sentencing Act 2002 to
reverse the effect of the decision. This is being done as part of a
suite of reforms proposed by the Government to enhance the rights
of victims of crime.
The Supreme Court noted in its decision that allowing victims of
crimes to top up their ACC entitlements is contrary to the
Woodhouse principles upon which ACC was based. In exchange for
universal coverage, the right to recover damages from the liable
party was removed. Allowing reparation sentences to top-up ACC
entitlements partly undoes this. It results in a two- tiered civil
compensation system in New Zealand. The rights of victims of crimes
are enhanced above those of victims of civil wrongs such as
negligence. A sentence of reparation is only available through the
criminal justice system and not the civil justice system.
The proposed reform will also result in increased exposure for
many liability insurers under their current liability and statutory
We intend making our own submissions to the Government on this
proposed reform and we are happy to assist clients if they also
wish to make a submission.
DLA Phillips Fox is one of the largest legal firms in
Australasia and a member of DLA Piper Group, an alliance of
independent legal practices. It is a separate and distinct legal
entity. For more information visit
This publication is intended as a first point of reference and
should not be relied on as a substitute for professional advice.
Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to any
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The failure of a party to call a witness does not necessarily give rise to an adverse inference being drawn in accordance with Jones v Dunkel (1959) 101 CLR 298. An unfavourable inference is drawn only if evidence otherwise provides a basis on which that unfavourable inference can be drawn.
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