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President of Criminal Bar Association re-elected

Media Statement 17April 2001

President of Criminal Bar Association elected for second term

Richard Earwaker, four months into his second term as President of the Criminal Bar Association of New Zealand Inc., is looking forward to an active year in the area of criminal law.

The Criminal Bar Association began as a networking organisation, but today acts also as an industry advocate and sounding board, with the President frequently called upon as a spokesperson in the area of criminal law. The Association also makes submissions to various groups and individuals including the Law Commission and judiciary, and has input into legislation by making submissions to Select Committees.

Mr Earwaker, a partner of Auckland law firm Haigh Lyon, says with numerous proposed changes to the New Zealand legal system - suggested by both the current and former governments – the Association is being increasingly called upon to participate through submissions or comment.

One area that particularly affects the practices of the Association’s members is the new Legal Aid regime – which came into existence with the passing of the Legal Services Act, on 1 February 2001. The Association is currently working with the new Legal Services Agency as it trials ways to institute a fair system.

Other areas that the Association believes will require careful monitoring include the suggested inroads into the right to silence, DNA testing, majority verdicts, codification of status hearings, sentence indication and charge negotiation, changes to the way the Court of Appeal operates, third party disclosure and secret witnesses.

“I believe that the Association has a responsibility to be involved in making submissions and to comment on any development in the criminal law,” Mr Earwaker says.

He says that it is not at all a bad thing that the current Minister of Justice is “intent on instigating changes that will have a significant impact on the practice of the criminal law”.

However, Mr Earwaker adds, “It is crucial that any changes to our legal system are always clearly defined and regulated by legislation and open to public debate and scrutiny.”

Mr. Earwaker, is also involved with Criminal Law Committees of the Auckland and New Zealand Law Societies, and is an experienced counsel for defendants in a wide range of criminal matters including jury trials in both the District Court and the High Court.

Haigh Lyon is a long established Auckland law firm that has seen a number of luminaries pass through its doors, including judges, a current QC, several Authority members and a recent Prime Minister.

ends


For further information, please contact:
Richard Earwaker
Tel 09 309 0399
Email r.earwaker@haighlyon.co.nz

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