Privy Council

Stephen Franks short but blunt message about our judicial system

I have refrained from entering into the Teina Pora debate until some sensible thoughts emerged.

Stephen Franks is short and blunt, but he is right.

Another embarrassment for our criminal justice system dealt with by ?the Privy Council, the world?s best independent ?top court.

There will be too much political resistance to admitting a stupid mistake in dumping that inexpensive heritage assurance of judicial objectivity. But the need remains.

We should promptly ask the High Court of Australia to accept our appeals where we need demonstrable assurance that the result will not be influenced by insider defensiveness or local groupthink.

The single worst thing that Helen Clark did, with it appears little actual thinking, was the removal of appeal tot eh Privy Council. ? Read more »

The logic of The Cunliffe

Yesterday David Cunliffe rushed of to make a statement about the conviction of John Banks, and his diminutive candidate in Epsom did likewise. Michael Wood defamed John Banks in his press release, Banks was found guilty of filing a false electoral return which is not electoral fraud as he claimed. But that is by the by. Both Cunliffe and Wood both think that because of something that John Banks did in 2010, standing as an independent in a local body election which he lost, somehow impacts on?the?Act party in 2014.

Labour Leader David Cunliffe said Mr Banks’ conviction “underlines a sorry chapter in our political history” and he should “accept his sentence and move on”.

“His conviction is also a reminder of the dodgy deal that kept him in Parliament over the last three years – and of the heavy-handed pursuit of the media by the police in its wake.”

However, with Prime Minister John Key this week saying he would again do deals with Act and United Future, “the National Party has learned nothing from this distortion of the MMP system”.

“National has been kept in power by a self-evident manipulation of our democratic process – relying on discredited and irrelevant support parties such as ACT and United Future which owe their place in Parliament to cups of tea and a nod and a wink.

“Labour will remove coat-tailing to make the electoral system fairer and more transparent.”

Basically their premise is because John Banks filled out a form incorrectly in 2010 when he wasn’t even a member of the Act party and subsequently was pursued by a convicted fraudster, tax cheat and blackmailer then sfor some reason people shouldn’t vote for ?Act this election.

“You failed to disclose only two donations. There is nothing to suggest it was a pattern of offending,” Justice Wylie said.

But it was not a victimless crime, he said, the victim of the offending was the community at large.

Which is not particularly accurate, as John Banks at the time had lost the election and was then a retired politician and a private citizen.

Cunliffe’s claims were?a long bow and he failed to draw it properly.? Read more »

It is satire but sadly oh so true

With media becoming campaigners for this cause and that cause, investing themselves in making the news and being the news rather than reporting the news it comes as no surprise that Ben Uffindel has decided to lampoon it.

Sadly, though his post is satire there is more than similarities with real life than we would like to admit.

The Privy Council in London yesterday ruled in favour of the New Zealand media, who put forth the argument that the 2002 conviction of Mark Lundy should be overturned, as it would provide national media with a much-needed news event.

Having heard the media?s appeal of Lundy?s case back in July, the Law Lords of the Privy Council unanimously ruled that Lundy, who was convicted for the murder of his wife and children on August 29th, 2000, had faced a significant miscarriage of justice, and that, even if he hadn?t, the national interest of ?having journalists run around outside courtrooms, concocting softball questions to cobble together a feel-good narrative about a once-reviled, now-vindicated man? far outweighed the potential consequences of setting him free.? Read more »

Oh, you’re sick of Bain? Here comes Lundy!

Credit: Fairfax

Credit: Fairfax

Jimmy Ellingham and Matthew Appleby reported last night

In a decision announced in London last night, the Privy Council unanimously decided to allow Lundy’s appeal and said he should face re-trial as quickly as possible for the murders of wife Christine and daughter Amber, 7.

For now Lundy, 54, will remain in Rangipo Prison, pending any court decision to grant bail.

He is 12 1/2 years into a 20-year minimum jail term for the August 29, 2000, killings, but has always maintained his innocence. ? Read more »

Tim Watkin on “elected dictatorship”

Russel Norman is becoming tedious with his ludicrous claims that a non-binding referendum should trump an election. Apart from making a rod for his own back for when he finally makes it into government he is just being plain silly.

You know he is being silly too when lefty commentators call him out for his dumb comments.

Tim Watkin is certainly one of those, and although his post is TL;DR it does show up the rank hypocrisy and sanctimony of Russel Norman.

Driving home last night I heard Norman on Checkpoint, rejecting questions that National had won the election and therefore had the right, y’know, to govern. Norman said that people vote for an against numerous issues in an election, so it didn’t mean National had a mandate for partial asset sales.

“That’s not how democracy works,” he told Mary Wilson.

Except that’s exactly how democracy works. Elections are never single issue referendums and a party like National, which for two elections has been clear as a newly polished pane of glass on a summer’s day (with not too much light, but not much cloud either) about its intentions, has every right to, y’know, govern. To argue otherwise makes no sense.? Read more »

Judith Collins on Pora case

Judith Collins writes an Op-Ed piece for the Dompost about the media pressure coming on in favour of Teina Pora.

New Zealand has one of the best-performing justice systems in the world. It has minimal corruption, a strong judiciary and high public confidence in its institutions.

New Zealand consistently ranks at the top of Transparency International’s corruption perception index for having one of the least corrupt, most transparent governments.

The separation of powers – between the executive and the judiciary – is at the heart of democracy. It ensures that power does not concentrate in one branch of government.

Decisions about criminal responsibility are made by the courts.

Every convicted person can appeal against conviction and sentence. The appeal courts ensure the trial process was fair, evidence was properly admitted or excluded, and the verdict is not unreasonable.

The appeal courts, including the Privy Council, may quash a conviction, order a retrial or amend a sentence.? Read more »

Collins says no as media ramps up campaign

Judith Collins has poured rather icy cold water on the aspirations of the media led campaign to free a twice convicted scumbag.

The Justice Minister is refusing to hold an inquiry into the?Teina Pora?case, despite new revelations made by 3rd Degree calling into question his conviction for the 1992 murder of Susan Burdett.

Judith Collins says it’s up to the courts to rule on the matter.

Pora’s lawyer expects to lodge papers with the Privy Council by next week.

Ms Burdett was brutally raped and murdered back in 1992, and Pora went down for it. The Police Association has joined opposition parties in calling for an inquiry.

But Ms Collins today said no, it’s a matter for the courts.? Read more »

No pardon for Scott Watson

Scott Watson, the man convicted of murdering Olivia Hope and Ben Smart won’t be getting a pardon. He will be continuing to stop in jail.

A Ministry of Justice review of the Scott Watson murder case has found none of the new evidence he put forward was fresh or credible enough for a pardon.

Following the ministry’s advice, Governor-General Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae declined Watson’s application for exercise of the royal prerogative of mercy.

Watson was convicted of murdering Ben Smart and Olivia Hope who were last seen boarding a yacht in Endeavour Inlet, in the Marlborough Sounds, in the early hours January 1, 1998.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years.? Read more »

High Handed? Does this silly bint not understand what government is about?

Dame Anne Salmond is a silly socialist cow. She is upset because the government is apparently “high handed”, mainly because they are doing what they were elected to do…which is govern:

The high-handed attitude of Govt over asset sales and charter schools programme poses threat to our society

What a load of horse shit.

Inspired by neo-liberal thinking, successive governments in New Zealand introduced policies concentrating influence and wealth in the hands of a few, disempowering the many.

As power and wealth flowed upward, short-term profiteering by a small elite became habitual. This is very evident in the first round of asset sales, the collapse of the finance companies, and the Solid Energy debacle, for example.

As the gaps between rich and poor widened, indicators of social distress rocketed – child poverty, third world diseases, youth unemployment, incarceration and suicide, for example. While such suffering is now widespread in New Zealand, however, our leaders seem to be quite unmoved.

Since the 1980s, too, successive Governments have become increasingly high-handed, and ideologically driven. Take the asset sales programme, for instance. According to many commentators, it does not serve the national interest.

Wayne Cartwright, for instance, argued in a recent?Herald?column that the sale of hydro assets is strategically inept. In a world that is energy-hungry, with limited sustainable, affordable sources of power, the sale of hydro companies shows a lack of economic prudence.? Read more »

Give David Bain Nothing, Ctd

I was listening to talkback this morning and reading various?media?who all seem to be framing the review of the Binnie report as an unnecessary cost…and that by the time all the reviews are complete it will add up to more than if we as taxpayers gave David Bain.

That is a bizarre situation to even contemplate…paying out Bain…on the basis of what is reportedly a highly flawed report…all?because?the reviews might cost more.

I listened to Binnie’s whiny interview on Hosking’s show this morning and it strikes me that this guy is more one eyed than Joe Karam when it comes to Bain. By even commenting he has shown just how?flawed?the report may be…that he is?prepared?to enter public debate over it.

David Farrar blogs some comments he has received which make a whole lot sense than the comments of Binnie.

Binnies statement, reproduced above, is the best evidence so far supporting Judith Collins stance. In it, he quite clearly demonstrates a lack of understanding of the law and the facts.

In paragraph 4 he states that the decision of the Privy Council that there had been a miscarriage of justice was reinforced by the verdict in the 2009 retrial. I am astounded that he would make such a statement.

The acquittal did not reinforce the conclusion of the Privy Council. The Privy Council was at pains to say that it did not have an opinion as to whether Bain was guilty or not. In NZ, the term miscarriage of justice refers to the process, not the outcome. You can have a trial which is found to have been a miscarriage of justice, but which still reaches the right result.

Binnie has demonstrated in his statement that he does not understand the meaning of the term miscarriage of justice, nor doe he understand the PC decision. He has also demonstrated a failure to understand the 2009 jury?s verdict. His statement quite clearly demonstrates a belief that the not guilty verdict equates to a finding of innocence.

Then in paragraph 5 he states that ?all of the ?external? judges who have looked at the record of the case have rejected the arguments of the Solicitor General and the Crown Law Office regarding David Bain?s guilt?. Again a mistake that goes to the very heart of his integrity.

The PC made no judgement on David Bain?s guilt. Their judgement states ?In closing, the Board wishes to emphasise, as it hopes is clear, that its decision imports no view whatever on the proper outcome of a retrial?

Collins doesn?t have to release the report now. Binnie, by his own statements, has vindicated everything she has said about the report.

So it seems in his statement about his report he even erred there. Sounds like Judith Collins is going about the review the right way.

Lord knows why Simon Power even appointed Binnie. Claims from some media that Binnie was impartial seem to have been overtaken by the retired judge’s own interventions in the review process showing he was far from impartial.