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Bar Association President calls for discussion on safety

In an open letter to members of the New Zealand Bar Association, President Kate Davenport QC has asked barristers to contribute to the discussion of how the law can work to help prevent mass shootings and other terrorist acts.

Her request follows the deaths of 50 people who were shot on Friday 15 March 2019 at two Christchurch mosques. Another 48 people were injured.

Ms Davenport noted that the discussion on changes to the law to prevent similar terrorist acts was a serious and urgent one. The Association was closely following suggested reforms to firearms and other legislation that could result from Friday’s events.

She asked all members to contribute to that discussion. “As lawyers, we understand that the law should help prevent events such as Friday’s shootings. We also know how different laws fit within the overall legal framework and where the conflicts can lie,” Ms Davenport said. “This is an opportunity for us all to contribute to making our communities safe without sacrificing the very reasons why people choose to live in New Zealand.”

Ms Davenport also noted that she was sure that all the members of the legal profession were already reaching out to support others who had been impacted by this tragic event. “I feel a sense of relief that at least this has not changed in the last three days,” she remarked.

She encouraged members of the Canterbury bar to contact the Bar Association’s Bar Care panel if they had a question or a problem relating to their work following this event. Contact details are available on the Association’s website.

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