Courts

Good judges tell slimy fleabag lawyer where to get off

This sort of thing makes me angry.

A building project manager charged with carrying out unlawful work on an Auckland site has argued he technically didn’t carry out the works – his construction team did.

Chin Keon Tan appealed to the High Court at Auckland, after he was charged in the district court with carrying out building work without a consent.

Although Tan was the project manager for the East Tamaki work site, he argued that he did not personally do any physical building work.

Following his not guilty plea in the Auckland District Court, Tan sought a pre-trial determination of the term “carry out works”.

A summary of facts said Tan had been charged after an Auckland Council building compliance officer visited the property to see multiple renovations had been undertaken without consent. Read more »

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Trial by Jury can be a lottery on the rest of your life

The right to trial by jury is a cornerstone of our criminal justice system.

But is this just quaint nostalgia? Is it time to seriously examine our jury system and whether it is actually serving the interests of justice?

Today we take you inside the jury room to expose the dark truth about what can happen when crime and prejudice clash in a high-profile high-stakes murder trial.

 

THREE-QUARTERS of the jury in a high-profile double-murder case were convinced the accused was guilty after hearing barely three hours of evidence in the month-long trial.

The explosive claims have raised serious concerns about the integrity of the jury system and what potentially can happen when jurors allow personal prejudice to taint their objectivity.

What make these claims even more compelling – and controversial – is the fact that on this occasion they’ve come from inside the jury room.

A juror in the retrial of double murder accused Cheng Qi ‘Chris’ Wang has spoken out this week about what he claims are serious failings with the whole jury system .

The man – who we will refer to as “Juror X” – was on the jury in Wang’s second trial – and played a crucial role in what eventually would be his acquittal on the two murder counts.

In August 2013 Wang, then 52, was found not guilty of the murder iin January 2011 of Zhuo ‘Michael’ Wu, 44, but guilty of the manslaughter of Yishan “Tom” Zhong, 53.  Read more »

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Herald editorial on Justice reforms

The Herald editorial looks at the comments from last week by Judith Collins on speeding up the justice system.

The time it can take for judges to issue a reserved decision is one of the enduring mysteries of the justice system. It can be many months, even a year or more, following a hearing at which the learned mind was presented with the salient issues. Litigants can only wonder what could be taking so long, and their lawyers can only advise patience. So it is refreshing to find a Minister of Justice mystified too.

Judith Collins, a lawyer herself, does not suffer from undue deference to the judiciary. Announcing a number of steps to improve the running of the courts, she has given notice that reserved judgments will need to be delivered faster. She says she is concerned at the time judges in some courts are taking and she is sick of hearing the solution is to appoint more judges.   Read more »

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Chester goes soft on crims

Shall we have a sweepstake on when the first big punch up takes place before parties …NBR explains (paid content):

Criminal re-offending may be linked to where bad guys sit in court.

And in what has been described by one senior lawyer as “The Inmates are Running the Asylum”, the justice ministry is about to test the theory at North Shore district court.

From early next year defendants – who traditionally stand in the dock at the side of the courtroom – will move to the front of the court alongside their lawyer.

The theory is that defendants standing in the dock at the side of the court do not “engage” with the court process and therefore reoffend.

Moving defendants to the front of the court, sitting or standing directly in front of a judge, is reckoned to be more “inclusive” and likely to prevent reoffending.

Believe this or not, courts minister Chester Borrows thinks it is a great idea and chief district court judge Jan Marie Doogue has approved the pilot.

Apparently justice minister Judith Collins is not involved.

 Of course Judith Collins isn’t involved, she knows where crims belong.

Why are Boarders being fined?

I am as confused about the fines as the Judge is. Why on earth would be be fining skate boarders or those unfortunates who need to stay in boarding arrangements?

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