Protection orders would ‘catch innocents’ 23 Sept 2013Tough new restrictions to keep possible abusers away from children  will “inevitably” sweep up people who will not abuse any children, the  Ministry of Justice says.In advice to the Government, the ministry estimates that only about  half the people subjected to child harm prevention orders would have  gone on to offend without the order.Others would not have abused children and would suffer a “curtailment  of fundamental freedoms without any corresponding benefits”.“The inherent uncertainty of risk prediction means that orders would  inevitably be imposed on people who would not have committed child abuse  in the absence of the order.”The proposed orders, which were announced by the Government last  month, can ban people from contact with any children or from visiting  places frequented by children, such as swimming pools. They can be  imposed even if the person has no convictions and last up to to 10  years.“People will be treated as pariahs and as guilty without ever being  found guilty,” Otago University law professor Mark Henaghan said. “That  can destroy people.”Colin Gavaghan, director at the NZ Law Foundation centre for  emerging technologies at Otago, said the orders were part of New Zealand  move towards a “pre-crime” society, with people condemned on  probability rather than proof.

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