Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Hot on the heals of a very ramped up often factually erroneous shill on the GCSB bill, where the current government is merely legalising process that has been ongoing since the ballsup was created under the Clark administration, but with more oversight and tighter operational rules under that bill, we have another allied cacophony.

Following a serious upgrade of the justice IT system, Minister Collins has floated a scheme where court decisions and outcomes are to be available at the click of a mouse of all records except those covered by suppression orders, on the internet.

At present unless a matter is dealt with in a closed court (a very rare occurrence), all the business is available to anyone who happens by. I have indulged myself at times of leisure with such activity to the puzzlement of some of my circle. Barlow Mk2 and 3, Watson, among others along with  some idle moments at District (or magistrates, as it was previously known) levels.
What I hear and observe on those visits, unless subsequently made subject to a suppression order is public knowledge and as such may be related by me, others present or any media present or shared later.

That said I am gobsmacked by some of the comments on Minister Collins suggestion that the "must be seen to be done" concept may now be available to anyone with an electronic device suitable to access the court records.

I accept that a stupid or thoughtless act of law breaking should not impact unfavorably on  someone who has turned their life around but surely such a blemish should be revealed, acknowledged and suitably carried as that person moves through life. If however the situation arises when such acknowledgement is relevant, say in a job interview then that would be addressed again where such a historical and hopefully provably irrelevant matter can be dealt with.
The old adage "a leopard never changes it's spots" can be a harsh.
Witness David Garrett pilloried, even though he did reveal it to his sponsors when he stood for ACT,  his subsequent life satisfies me how he has overcome that stupid action and delivered a turn around to be proud of
However employing someone who has succumbed to temptation previously say when exposed to handling cash, applying for work in a  small operation where trust is paramount and total supervision and control is not possible, it  could save many bad things happening if the 'previous' was more accessible to an employer.
Police checks are slow, and often impractical as to time constraints.

Prior sex offending, assaults, pedophillia, violence and rape etc,  is all too commonly revealed too late as perps circumvent scrutiny and reoffend, one repeat is always unacceptable in those sad and destructive cases. A facet that is all too often frustrated by idiotic and inane suppression orders "to protect victims". A classic being where Teachers are dealt with under their secret squirrel pseudo court system, with no records ever published or available, boy has that created some subsequent human disasters

Once upon a time cautious employers and small traders perused the columns of Truth newspaper where warts and all revelations made many relevant transgressions such as debt matters public, and  they saved much grief with their diligence.

Such records of previous offending should be as accessable as is reasonabe, in line with the open justice system we treasure.


Paranormal said...

It's not just identifying the crims, this is really important for the victims as well. One of many examples follows:

A west Auckland client of mine had a staff member steal a significant amount that was discovered in early 2012. The 'service' our 'justice' system has served up for my client is woeful and frankly disgraceful.

Long story short, the insurer requires the court records to complete settlement to my client. The case was heard in early 2013. I won't go into what a farce that was, needless to say the individual is probably out of his state provided leg jewellery by now. The real issue is that coming up to six months after the decision was handed down, we still can't get the court papers to finalise. The insurer has been outstanding and has paid up - no thanks to our inept bungling system. We're still waiting for the decision so we can close the file.

Anything that will speed that up and provide some sunlight into this murky bureaucratic nightmare is most welcome.

Noel said...

Suppression orders is more important I believe than the publishing of court decisions.

It's time that the identities of all defendants be suppressed until after the decision. Not just those who can afford better representation.

Any suppression orders after sentencing should be rare and have to pass more stringent tests than at present.

gravedodger said...

@ Noel an aside on your belief that has resonance with many on supression prior to conviction.
Following involvement in a historical sex case further victims were brought out by early court procedings being published and I wonder if they would have come forward had the perp escaped the conviction?
Sex crime charges and dishonesty often bring related offences to the sunlight on publishing the ID of perps but a valid point.