Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Behaving badly at the bottom of town

124 Responses

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  • nzlemming, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Pretty clasic Streisand Effect

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2934 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    The predictable unintended consequence of buying one’s name suppression with a big fat chequebook – guilt by association.

    It's worth reiterating that the order wasn't bought "with a big fat chequebook". It was requested by an ordinary duty solicitor in the course of a very standard morning in court.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    Im asking for name suppression if I'm ever in court then.
    Hey I'm a nobody but no one needs to know I'm a nobody. Works for me!

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • slarty,

    Why do I have "I'm coming out" in my head at the moment...

    Anyway, thanks for pointing this out - undoubtedly one of the most disturbing decisions I've seen in... months. We've had a stream of policy decisions and litigation tactics for some time now that do not bode well for the integrity of our legal system.

    It's not particularly the fault of this government, although having a newbie Minister means some of the crazies are getting recommendations through that a more cynical politician would recognise for what they are...

    My experience is that often that a request for an administrative power is generally the first choice of fix for incompetence in the public sector... can't get that pesky appeal dealt with in time bar? Get Govt. to give you longer through a nice simple Order in Council.

    But most depressing for me: I would put money there are a number of senior Police, Security Service, Crown Law and other public servants quite aware that it was a simple stuff up that should be discretely managed away.

    Each of them will be too frightened by the media hysteria (not to mention Political pressure - and not just from within NZ...) to do the rational thing. And their pawns will be sitting in meeting rooms assuming that they need to support the thrust, coming up with more and more hysterical tactics to persist with the insanity.

    The group-think that goes on in such bureaucracies really is a spectacle to behold...

    That rasping noise is just the steady erosion of your human rights. And the distant roaring noise is your taxes being burnt to warm egos...

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    As you might already know, my own opinion of the defendants and their actions is not high. At best, they have behaved extremely foolishly.

    I can't recommend highly enough having a look at what happened in New Caledonia during the 80's. Some of the most violent events were the result of foolishness not malevolence.

    Of all our neighbouring countries NC is what we could have been like. For better or worse.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Perhaps, but in the meantime we may also wish to pause and express unsmirking sympathy towards fellow citizens who are being denied due process.

    Given that the ruling is clearly within the law, I think they're getting due process by definition.

    Having appeared before a judge, I think I'd be more in favour of a judge trial in this case. There some pretty marginal stuff in the prosecution evidence which they'll probably try and paint over in front of a jury. That's a lot less likely to work in front of a judge. Jury selection may not help them.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    Jury selection may not help them.

    Thats something I'd like to know a little about. Are jurors vetted at all by prosecution and defence, or not? I have no idea what happens in this country there must be a process tho'.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to andin,

    The registrar draws by ballot a bunch of names (how many is determined by the type and predicted length of the trial) from people who've been summonsed and have reported to the court that day, and that’s the jury panel. The panel are then escorted to the court room, and seated at the back. Your name gets called, you walk from the back of the court room to the jury box, and if the defence or prosecution don’t like the look of you (or don’t like your occupation or address, since they only have your electoral roll details) they call “challenge” before you sit down. If they do, you’re not on the jury for that trial, if they don’t you take your seat and you’re a juror. That’s the extent of it.
    We don’t do voir dire in the manner of courts in the US, and I don’t think that’s at all a bad thing.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Thanks Matthew. When I next get a jury summons I know what happens now, so I won't be searching for excuses not to do it. Lawyers giving me the squinty once over is something I look forward too.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    if the defence or prosecution don’t like your occupation [as listed on the] electoral roll

    Heh. I'm listed as an 'intellectual' on the electoral roll, and on a good day I tend to look like a football hooligan who should be up in the dock with the defendant. So bog knows what sort of synaptic meltdown I might cause as I stroll up to the front of the court.

    they call “challenge” before you sit down.

    Is there a limited number of challenges for each side, or if one of the legal teams starts taking the piss, does the judge step in?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Rich Lock,

    Is there a limited number of challenges for each side

    I believe it's six per side, but whatever it is can be varied by the judge with the agreement of counsel - as is the case with the majority of the rules that apply to running a trial.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I guess if you never want to do jury service, put "Sensible Sentencing Campaigner" down on the next eletoral registration form.

    But be warned, you'll get necklaced when the revolution happens.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    You'll still get summonsed, and be expected to front up to the court.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    I heard a rumour that turning up in a suit and tie was a good way to get yourself challenged by the defense... no idea if it's true?

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 893 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to FletcherB,

    Last time I got hauled in there was a fellow prospective juror in a beige safari suit, with a pale yellow toupee fashioned from the kind of material that you used to see in those 1970s fibre optic lamps. He was very intense and keen, and the defense seemed rather taken with him. Not so with me, though I had to to endure a dismal couple of hours of fluffing about until my deliverance.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to FletcherB,

    Depends on the trial, and what the defence are after. First jury I was ever on, the foreman was an immaculately-attired gentleman in his 60s. Silk tie, pinstripe suit, the works.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    The Herald finally wakes up:

    Urewera raids: Lone judge to decide cases

    Most of the 18 people charged after the Urewera "terror" raids have been denied a jury trial.

    Fifteen of the group, who are facing firearms charges stemming from police raids in 2007, will be tried before a judge alone when their case goes ahead in August.

    Suppression has been lifted on the decision, after the Crown argued that it was in the public interest to know the sort of trial the 18 defendants would go through.

    Human rights activists have decried the ruling, saying the high-profile, controversial case should be decided by a jury of peers.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    And to soothe the fevered brows of those accusing the MSM of ignoring the issue, Granny reveals that the suppression of the suppression has been lifted although the reasoning for the judge-alone decision is still suppressed. It lends some credence to the assertion that it was fear of breaching the suppression order, rather than not wanting to raise the issue, that didn't see this publicised earlier.

    The article's a bit light, but does an admirable job of "speculating" about reasons why judge-alone trials would be ordered.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Yes, but if you get rejected repeatedly, do you have to sit around all week or do they send you home?

    I'd love to do jury service, and have been summoned twice, but I can't afford it. With the rates of compensation, it seems to be only an option for the very rich (who can ignore a few days loss of wages) or the very poor for which the few dollars a day is a reasonable deal. So I've produced an employers letter and been excused each time.

    I suspect if they recompensed for loss of earnings, there would be no problem attracting jurors.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    We don’t do voir dire in the manner of courts in the US, and I don’t think that’s at all a bad thing.

    You are expected to report if there's a reason you shouldn't be on the jury though - if you know a witness or some such. I once sat in on a trial in which jury selection took ages, because everyone knew everyone.

    On the other hand, I've always wanted the ability to make people go away, just by saying "challenge".

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Yes, but if you get rejected repeatedly, do you have to sit around all week or do they send you home?

    My experience is that they panel in the morning for trials starting that day. If you get panelled you sit through jury selection and, if not selected, may or may not sit through another panelling (more common at district courts, given trial volumes). Whether you have to report on other days in the week is determined by the registrar. I think for district courts you end up having to report most mornings, but at high courts you're unlikely to have to report more than twice. I've served on juries at both, and been summonsed for a Wednesday at Wellington High Court (of all the tiny-world coincidences, myself and the MD of our 10-person company both got summonsed for the same day) where I didn't get panelled, so I haven't had to sit through a whole week of not getting onto juries and thus don't know for certain what happens. But what I've seen is that you go in the morning, if you don't get put on a jury you're definitely free for the rest of the day and, if it's a high court, possibly free for the remainder of the week.

    I suspect if they recompensed for loss of earnings, there would be no problem attracting jurors.

    Maybe so, but jury service is part of living in this society. I get immensely snarky with anyone who gripes about doing jury duty. If you don't like it, there are plenty of countries where it's not required, and not just ones where there's no rule of law.
    The pay has improved a lot, and I think it's up around the $70/day mark for basic pay (there are a bunch of situations where it goes higher) plus reimbursement of reasonable expenses such as parking, mileage, and childcare. If you can prove real hardship there's provision for higher pay.

    I like the idea of making it much, much harder to get excused but allowing deferral for up to a year. Excusing people as easily as is currently the case undermines the entire system. Especially if they required employers to make up the difference in wages. I've worked for several places now that will continue to pay employees provided that the employee remits their juror pay, and that's ranging from University of Auckland to aforementioned 10-person company so it's not just large organisations.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    No amount of pleading on my part about how punishing financially jury service would be for me (and for anyone else self-employed) got me off the several orders (every year, for years) to turn up at court.

    My last one was for a massive assault charge - something like a dozen people in the dock - and it seemed that any female of a pale hue was anathema. So I got sent away. I was heartbroken, of course :)

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Jacqui Dunn,

    You only have to do jury duty once every two years. If you keep getting called, respond that you've attended within the last two years and say which court and when.

    You are a perfect example of how broken the "random" selection is, though. I know many people who've never been summonsed, whereas others are like you and keep getting called. I've been summonsed three times, though not in the last four years, and it was 25 months between the first and second summons.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    You only have to do jury duty once every two years.

    I must be about due again. Im looking forward to it...no joking.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to FletcherB,

    I heard a rumour that turning up in a suit and tie was a good way to get yourself challenged by the defense… no idea if it’s true?

    It depends on the case. The first time I was summonsed, I turned up in a suit - no ploy, just standard work clothes. Wound up as the foreman :-(

    Second time I wore tight scabby jeans and a vaguely anarchist t-shirt - no luck, though I kept my mouth shut at foreman-choosing time.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2934 posts Report Reply

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