First person sentenced under 'three strikes' speaks out after Government axes law

The first man that was ever sentenced under the 'three strikes, you're out' law has called the policy "manifestly unjust".

This comes after the Government scrapped the law, which came into force under National and ACT in 2010.

The law saw third-time serious offenders get the maximum sentence with no chance of parole.

Justice Minister Kris Faafoi has labelled sentences "absurd" and "perverse", while judges have long called it unjust. 

The first person ever locked up for a third strike got seven years in prison for grabbing a prison guard's bottom and agrees with the Government's decision to scrap the old law. 

Newshub spoke exclusively with the man that was the first-ever sentenced under the three strikes law. 

"It took time away from me, you know," he says. "Obviously, you know, I went inside at a young age."

Newshub has agreed not to name him because he's getting his life back on track.

"Of course it was manifestly unjust to sentence me to seven years, you know," he said.

Even the judge hated handing down such a harsh punishment, saying: "It might be surprising that this consequence could be required, but this is the law and I have no option but to enforce it."

"Judges have been hamstrung by having to impose this," Judge Rosemary Riddell tells Newshub.

But not for much longer, after Faafoi repealed the three strike law, calling it "absurd" and "perverse".

The law sees third-time violent offenders automatically get the maximum sentence.

Labour has been trying to get rid of it since getting into government in 2017.

Labour Minister Andrew Little previously said to Newshub the law "just doesn't work".

But the then-Justice Minister didn't tell then-Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters this - and Peters yanked up the handbrake.

"We weren't going to get the support, so there was no point in going ahead," Little said when talking about Labour's efforts to remove the three strikes law previously.

"We are doing it because we made a commitment at the last election to do it," Faafoi said when asked if the Government had only been able to change the law since Peters is no longer in power. 

Since the law came in in 2010, 21 offenders have reached their third strike, but only one was given the max sentence.

Of those third strike offences, nine were assaults, five sexual assaults, four were burglaries or extortion, and two were murder.

"Based on the best evidence there is, there are fewer serious criminals going onto those second and third strikes," National Party MP Simon Bridges says. 

Newshub asked for that evidence but the Justice Ministry says there is actually no substantial evidence on the effect of three strikes laws on crime.

Saying it was too soon to tell, but soon you won't be able to tell at all with three strikes struck out.

Watch the full story above.