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Tuesday, 22 May 2012


In theory, the justice system is due process, which always gives you what is due to you--it gives you your rights, and gives you all that is right and just and true. It should. The very word, 'justice', comes from the Latin word ius, which means right, so justice is in theory about getting things right, making things right, setting things to rights.

But in practice what you get in New Zealand's justice system is not due process. You get a chancy game of dubious process that has nothing to do with your rights, with what is right or true or just.

Dubious process is not interested in people, in life, in anything true. It is interested only titles, position, the careless and petty exercise of petty, pettifogging power.

New Zealand prides itself on having a good justice system. It does not.

If you are haled into the District Court on some charge in which the police think they can get a victorious notch in their belts, and those who accused you lie, and the judge believes the lies and convicts you you can in theory appeal to a higher Court and ultimately you will get justice.

But a conviction on lies should not have happened in the first place, because in law, under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, and under international law, under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which New Zealand is a signatory, and which it has also affirmed in the Bill of Rights Act, you are deemed innocent until proved guilty, and you have the right to a fair and impartial trial by a competent authority. So the District Court judge should have the competence to tell whether people are lying, and should be very careful to make sure he finds out if they are. And he has to make sure that guilt or innocence has been proved. But proof is possible only by using logic; and under the rules of logic it is only if the premise is true and the reasoning is true that the conclusion be true. Therefore a verdict not founded on the truth and true reasoning should never issue from any court, even if it is the lowest level of the system.

But what actually happens is a stacked lottery. Because if the District Court judge is too stupid to see that your accusers are lying, if he does not apply logical analysis to what they said, and thus blinds himself to all the places where they contradicted themselves, where they contradicted each other, and where they said things that cannot possibly be true in the real world, and then 'reasons' falsely from all their falsehoods, he will hand down the wrong verdict. He will convict an innocent person.

Then the lottery stacked against you can get far worse. Because to overturn a decision in the District Court you have to appeal in the first instance to the High Court. Again, you have the right to a fair and impartial trial by a compentent authority, and again you are to be deemed innocent until proved guilty.

But if the gown of the High Court judge is cut from the same cloth as the gown of the District Court judge, you will get the wrong verdict affirmed. Then the obvious thing to do is appeal to the Court of Appeal, the second-highest court in New Zealand's four-layer system.

But then you run into the even bigger jaws of dubious process. Because to get to the Court of Appeal from the High Court you have to ask for leave from the High Court judge who has just agreed with the District Court judge's wrong verdict. You have to ask permission of the judge whose judgement you want to call into question. No judge can even pretend to treat that request fairly and impartially. What High Court judges truly want you to go to the Court of Appeal and trash their rulings? None, obviously, so they cannot be fair and impartial when you ask permission to go and do it.

So you will get a refusal, of course. But that's OK, because you can then ask the Court of Appeal for special leave to appeal to it. But the Court of Appeal is not, in law, obliged to consider anything except points of law. It only has to consider if the law has been interpreted correctly. It can, and it will, refuse to consider anything that is only a point of fact. So if the verdict against you was based on lies, not facts, and you are questioning the verdict on that ground, the Court of Appeal will refuse permission to give you special leave to appeal to it. It will say the law was interpreted correctly, there is nothing more to be said. And it was, it was just that the facts used under that interpretation were lies not facts.

But that's OK, because then you can appeal to the Supreme Court of New Zealand. The law says so. And it also says that, unlike the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court is obliged to hear appeals in which there has been a significant miscarriage of justice.

But there you run into the biggest jaws of dubious process. Because in 2004 the Supreme Court ruled that if the Court of Appeal refused to give you leave to appeal to it, the Supreme Court cannot and will not hear your appeal. What!!!

Therefore if the District Court goofs and the High Court goofs, that is it. You can never get justice. You can go no higher. The dubious process wins, and the District Court, is in effect made senior to the Supreme Court.

You could try applying to the Governor-General to exercise the Royal Prerogative. But your request will not actually be handled by the Governor-General or the Queen he represents. It will be handled by some lowly lawyer buried somewhere in the bowels of the Justice Department. And even if the answer is yes, the request will then be referred to--guess who?--the Court of Appeal!!! Which is hardly likely to admit that it goofed the first time you went to it.

So the corruption of dubious process wins. Your life is wrecked. Permanently. By serial incompetence in blue shirts and black gowns.

New Zealand has a shonky system. If it gets things wrong they can never be put right.

After 10,000 years of civilisation, this is as far as this country has got.

As an experienced barrister once said to me: 'There's no such thing as the rule of law. It's just a judge's opinion.'

If the judge is a fool, you get folly, not justice.

And New Zealand's system of appointing judges is shonky, so your chances of standing before a good one are not good. The way police officers are employed is obviously not top-notch either, so there are too many prats running about in blue shirts messing up people's lives. Pre-recruitment testing should be a lot better.