Sensible Sentencing Trust

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The Sensible Sentencing Trust logo.

The Sensible Sentencing Trust is a political advocacy group based in Napier, New Zealand. The Trust states its vision as "A Safe New Zealand" and its mission as "to obtain a large base of community support, and ensure safety for all New Zealanders from violent and criminal offending, through education, development of effective penal policies, and the promotion of responsible behaviour, accountable parenting, and respect for each other at all levels of society."[1] The trust was formed by Garth McVicar in 2001 in response to the police prosecution of Mark Middleton for threatening to kill Paul Dally who tortured, raped, and killed Middleton's 13-year-old stepdaughter Karla Cardno in 1989.[2]

In 2010, the Trust's tax-free charitable status was revoked by the Charities Commission, on the grounds that it had become a political lobby group rather than a charity.[3] The Trust was a registered electoral promoter at the 2011 general election.[4] The Trust did not register as a promoter for the 2014 general election, but founder McVicar contended the Napier electorate and the party list as a member of the Conservative Party.[5]

In 2018, the Privacy Commissioner warned that the trust had called the wrong man a paedophile for almost two years and said the trust had a continuously negligent, cavalier, and dangerous approach to privacy.[6][7] After a similar instance of mistaken identity in 2014, the trust agreed to provide training to volunteers, but only one person was trained and they left shortly after.[8]


  1. ^ "Goals, Vision Statement and Mission". Sensible Sentencing Trust. Retrieved 8 June 2009.
  2. ^ Coddington, Deborah (8 November 2009). "Blinded justice". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  3. ^ Marty Sharpe (30 June 2012). "Charity rejection splits Sensible Sentencing Trust". Fairfax NZ.
  4. ^ "Register of Registered Promoters for the 2011 General Election and Referendum" (PDF). Electoral Commission. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
  5. ^ Kirk, Stacey (7 August 2014). "Garth McVicar leaves SST for Conservatives". Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Sensible Sentencing Trust wrongly labels man as paedophile". Radio New Zealand. 19 December 2018.
  8. ^

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