Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: If Britain Jumped off a Bridge...

11 Responses

  • Lyndon Hood,

    And I thought I was paying attention because I knew one thing the bill contained other than the depositions stuff...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    P.S. For those who haven't read it yet, I recommend Steven Price' short post arguing that the Sensible Sentencing Trust has committed a criminal contempt of court. I think Steven finds more contempts of court than David Farrar finds breaches of the Electoral Finance Act, but this one is particularly delicious.

    Good grief. Why isn't there more of a fuss about this? It's a particularly damning illustration of teh stupid ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Four hours isn't very long to deliberate before getting permission to present a majority verdict. I was foreman on a murder trial, and we deliberated for about 10 hours (that's actual deliberation, because we were out overnight so had the case for about 20 hours) before we managed to resolve everything and return a verdict.

    If a jury is still deadlocked after a full day of deliberations, then a majority verdict might be a reasonable resolution. Some people can be very hard-headed in the face of compelling reason. But to allow a cop-out after four hours is just ridiculous.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    What do you think?

    I assume you're looking for something more practicable (and less homicidal) than sealing the Debating Chamber and filling it with carbon monoxide? At the very least, I can only hope Simon Power finds himself having to deal with the manure as the responsible minister, because it takes very little imagination to see some outcomes that the usual suspects aren't going to like at all...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    I can only hope Simon Power finds himself having to deal with the manure as the responsible minister, because it takes very little imagination to see some outcomes that the usual suspects aren't going to like at all

    He'll just blame it all on Labour, Craig. It's the way it goes. Labour blame National, National blame Labour. And he'll leave the law the hell alone, would be my guess.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    More crimes of Garth McVicar. One day I hope to see him convicted of something - although unless he gets into a libel/perjury trap one day, I doubt it'll happen.

    Unfortunately, I think cases where a key prosecution witness has been offered or given excessive inducements are quite common, aren't they. There was the suitcase murder where one of the conspirators got away with accessory to murder by testifying. I don't think there was any doubt there, but avoiding maybe 5 years in jail is a big inducement, isn't it?

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

  • Tim McKenzie,

    The Criminal Procedure Bill, among the many laws our Parliament enacts, doesn't really sound like the sort of legislation to create a small furore – least of all over proposed changes to preliminary hearings in the indictable jurisdiction.

    I'm not sure about that; after all, this is the country that had people marching in the streets over electoral finance legislation. I'm not saying that there shouldn't have been a fuss about that, but they weren't exactly renationalizing the rail system. (Not that day, anyway.) I suspect the latter would have induced the political right to make much more of a fuss in the UK, for example. (But I don't really know; I've never been to the UK, so I'm basing that only on comments I've heard people make in passing.)

    Lower Hutt • Since Apr 2007 • 126 posts Report Reply

  • Rex Widerstrom,

    Four hours is no time at all to permit a jury to deliberate on a complex case. Is that applicable to every case, Graeme? So, for instance, a jury which heard the evidence in a case which stretched over weeks of complex testimony would be under pressure to reach a verdict in half a working day?!

    The underlying message I think this will send to jurors is one that too many people seem to assume in any event - that the Police only arrest and prosecute those who are guilty.

    Thanks for highlighting these issues, by the way. Like Lyndon I thought I was pretty smart because I'd caught up with the substance of the Bill on double jeopardy (which also concerns me) and depositions.

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 157 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Four hours is no time at all to permit a jury to deliberate on a complex case. Is that applicable to every case, Graeme?

    Not really. In no case can a verdict with a sole dissenter be accepted before 4 hours, but whether one will be accepted is ultimately up to the judge. In a long or complex case, a judge wouldl refuse to accept a majority verdict that quickly, because a majority verdict may only be accepted, if:

    (c) the foreperson of the jury has stated in open court—
    (i) that there is no probability of the jury reaching a unanimous verdict; and
    (ii) that the jury has reached a majority verdict; and
    (d) the Court considers that the jury has had a period of time for deliberation that the Court thinks reasonable, having regard to the nature and complexity of the trial.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Leigh Kennaway,

    And what if four or five jury members spend half the trial doing Sudoku? http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/2/story.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10515690

    Western Bays • Since Feb 2007 • 79 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    Speaking of Britain, law, crime and the like the 42 day detention bill was passed in the House today, 315-306. Let us hope the Lords do their duty.

    Makes me ashamed to be a short term economic migrant residing in Britain sometimes

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1027 posts Report Reply

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