Rodney Hide on a pedo’s wig, a contrarian view

via Radiolive Nonce and murderer Phillip John Smith has hurty feelings because his rug was taken

Rodney Hide has a contrarian view about Phillip Smith’s wig fiasco:

But Smith v Attorney-General is bigger than a murdering paedophile’s attempt to disguise his baldness. It’s also bigger than our respect and admiration for those who do a tough job well.

It’s about whether we lock people up according to law. Or not.

That’s a very big principle. It separates our prison service from the Gulag.

Parliament decides the punishment for crime. The courts and Corrections work within the law Parliament provides.

It’s not up to government agents to decide a man’s punishment, for say, attempting escape. That’s for the courts, according to law.

Prisoners on incarceration don’t lose all their rights. We don’t allow prisoners to be beaten or starved despite our horror at their crimes. I doubt anyone is suggesting prisoners should have no rights.

And so the issue becomes the boundary. What rights does a prisoner lose? What rights does he keep? Corrections had allowed Mr Smith his hairpiece. They denied it him on his recapture. Mr Smith complained and ultimately had the matter heard before Justice Ed Wylie.

He considered the facts, the law, the precedent and. in a reasoned judgment, determined that Corrections did not have the power or authority to deny Mr Smith his hairpiece. The Attorney-General has declined to appeal. It’s the law. The only way to change it is through our elected representatives.

I rejoice in Mr Smith’s victory because it proves we still live in a half-civilised society where the courts uphold our rights against unlawful state action.

I care not a jot for Mr Smith and even less for his wig. But I celebrate his win as a win for subjecting government power to the law and a win against arbitrary government. 

Too often, government agents trammel our rights without care or consideration and so this victory in this small corner of the law is sweet. There are limits to government action.

It’s also heartening that a murderer and child sex offender can take on the Attorney-General and win. It proves that government is not all powerful. And it proves that each of us can stick up for ourselves in holding the government to account. We should all be encouraged to do more of it.

I sort of agree with Rodney, but on the flip side, whilst we can hold politicians to account, it is almost impossible to hold the judiciary to account…especially when they make decisions with enormous impacts. The judge that Rodney Hide praises is also the judge who bizarrely preferred the evidence of Kim Dotcom and his wife over that of John Banks and his wife. Eventually it proved that Banks and his wife had the correct view and the Crown had also withheld evidence. It took Banks hundreds of thousands of dollars to get to the truth, hundreds of thousands of dollars that he should never have had to expend, and then bizarrely that same Judge then decided on the costs award and declined Banks’ request for recovery of costs.

While courts can stop excesses of governments, where are the procedures to stop the excesses of activist judges and the judiciary?

-NBR

 


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