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.

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  • well violet offenders should be in manacles front and centre.

    and possibly be made to wear a red shirt.

    • Dumrse

      what about turquoise or maroon coloured offenders :-)

    • Pink shirt

  • Jimmie

    Fools – obviously some psychoshrink is trying to justify their 6 figure salary somewhere in the Ministry of Justice.

  • peterwn

    If there is no security risk then what is the problem with this? Many years ago I was on a jury and the (then) Supreme Court judge invited the accused to leave the dock and sit next to his lawyer for the trial. The concept of humiliating the accused before a verdict has had its day, along with the rack, gallows, cat, etc. Allowing the accused to sit next to his lawyer (or otherwise not being in the dock) should be the norm for private prosecutions in any case.

    • nasska

      Agree entirely……before & during the trial the accused is entitled to be presumed innocent & treated as such. The judge is still ringmaster within his own court……if he considers the defendant to be a security risk then this can be dealt with on a case by case basis.

  • Apolonia

    Chester caved in over the anti-smacking law so where’s the surprise.

    • Not so; Borrows actually put forward an amendment which would have defined what constituted a light smack and what constituted an assault, but Bradford, Clark and co voted it down.

      Bradford packed a tanty over Borrows’ amendment, and threatened to take her bat, ball and Bill and go home:

      Emotion over the anti-smacking bill reached almost unprecedented
      heights in parliament on Wednesday.

      MPs debated the bill but failed to get to National MP Chester
      Borrows’ amendment after opponents offered up a raft of amendments
      to allow further debate. That means the amendment to allow
      light smacking will not be debated for another fortnight.

      Campaigner Sue Bradford is threatening to pull her anti-smacking
      bill if Borrows’ amendment passes.

      Borrows says by threatening to pull her bill, Bradford is not
      being a true MP.

      However a disciplined set of Labour MPs did not waver from their
      support. The party’s MPs have been whipped into backing the

      As a footnote, it’s hard not to laugh at the irony of Labour MP’s being “whipped” to support the anti-smacking bill…

      • Apolonia

        Borrows amendment was the basis for John Boscowen’s private members Bill to reflect the wishes of New Zealanders as expressed in a referendum.
        Sadly Burrows and the other members of Blue Labour voted against it.

  • Graeme Edgeler

    US Courtrooms don’t have docks at all. The Defendant sits with their lawyer.

    It really is an anachronism. There isn’t a legal basis for putting a defendant in a dock, it’s just how it is done in this country.

    • UglyTruth

      The traditions of admiralty as applied to a human vessel.

    • Rodney

      And it’s only trial in one area so what’s the fuss all about? Give it a go and see what happens.

  • MarcWills

    I agree with this change to what I think is a system designed to disadvantage and demean anyone who is unfortunate enough to have made a mistake, and who ends up in a court hearing. My (only) experience was to be stood in a dock at the back of the court with my back to the public seating, with the police prosecutor sitting at a desk in front of the judge with his back to me while he carries on semi-private discussions with the judge during the hearing. I was in fact so far away that I had to ask one of the court staff what I penalty had been given since the whole process seemed to be a process in virtual reality remote from my submissions. It reinforced my perception that you don’t go to the legal system to get justice. At the very least, the defendant and the prosecution should be placed in the same area – be it at the front or back of the courtroom, with appropriate arrangements for security if necessary.

  • stinkeye

    Sounds fair enough, would be much more intimidating being directly under the judge, like in Judge Judy.

  • lofty

    A very sensible move, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty is a basic premise, and the connotations around being stood in a dock, insinuate guilt in my opinion…….BUT once found guilty, bring back the stocks.