Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Anonymous Drug Importing Billionaire Leaves Today

An American billionaire caught importing over 100 grams of cannabis is flying home today leaving controversy in his wake.

The man who flew into New Zealand to watch the America’s Cup race was caught by Customs with the drugs at Auckland airport last week.

He was later discharged without a conviction on condition that he make a donation to a drug rehabilitation centre and leave by today.

The light punishment dealt out to the billionaire, and the discharge without conviction, has raised concerns about apparent inconsistencies in New Zealand’s justice system. The widespread publication of the man’s name on the internet and in overseas newspapers has also led to questions about the appropriateness of the permanent name-suppression granted to the man.

The arguably “soft option” taken by the police and courts has also caused Ghislain Couston, a 19-year-old Frenchman convicted and deported for importing a far lesser amount of marijuana to question the fairness of New Zealand’s law.

In Parliament Minister of Justice Phil Goff has begun an inquiry into the consistency of the sentencing, and Customs Minister Phillida Bunkle says the man’s discharge without conviction could make prospective drug smugglers target New Zealand as an “easy beat”.

The New Zealand Herald newspaper has said that it will go the High Court if necessary to have the man’s name suppression lifted.

However progress on the legal front appears to be slow. A court hearing into the case at Otahuhu District Court has been stalled by technical arguments from the billionaire’s lawyer over whether the Herald is entitled to appeal the decision to grant name suppression.

A decision of sorts – only on the technical question of whether the Herald has standing to argue the case – is expected to be delivered tomorrow morning.

By then the billionaire drug importer will have left the country. Still, according to some reports, the man may be eligible to return if he applies for a visa.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

27-29 Sept: Social Enterprise World Forum Live Blog

1600+ delegates from more than 45 countries have came together to share wisdom, build networks and discuss how to create a more sustainable future using social enterprise as a vehicle. Attending the Forum were social enterprise practitioners, social entrepreneurs, policy makers, community leaders, investors, activists, academics and more from across the globe... More>>

HiveMind Report: A Universal Basic Income For Aotearoa NZ

Results from this HiveMind suggests that an overwhelming majority of Kiwis believe that due to changing circumstances and inefficiencies in the current system, we need a better system to take care of welfare of struggling members in our society. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Hivemind: Medical Cannabis - Co-Creating A Policy For Aotearoa

Welcome to the fourth and final HiveMind for Scoop’s Opening the Election campaign for 2017. This HiveMind explores the question: what would a fair, humane and safe Medical Cannabis policy look like for Aotearoa, NZ in 2018? More>>

ALSO:

Lyndon Hood: Notes On National’s Election Campaign, In Poem Form

Nationyl’s bitumen-ing / As they du du / Seed groweth / River floweth / Then ‘dozer drives thru / Highway ensu. More>>