Top Scoops

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

 

Sandra Lee's Ministerial Car - Impound It!

By now, most of the country knows that Sandra Lee's ministerial car was impounded on Sunday. But unlike other New Zealanders who've had their cars impounded for 28 days, this one was not. John Howard asks why?

Sandra Lee's press secretary Moana Sinclair is facing charges following a series of incident's while driving the cabinet minister's office car.

The car was subsequently impounded by police and, unless I'm missing something, it should have stayed impounded for 28 days.

But this one was not - it has since been returned to Sandra Lee, not after 28 days, but after 4 days.

The police say the matter is now the subject of ongoing inquiries related to the incident, which will be dealt with in the same way as for any other member of the public.

But I know of others who have had their vehicles impounded for 28 days, including companies, and despite impassioned pleas they have not been released.

Is this equality before the law? Not for me, it's not.

It also raises an issue about whether laws that punish us by confiscation of our property - our vehicles - without trial are laws that we want to remain on our books.

Picture this. Your vehicle is impounded for 28 days on the say-so of a police officer. It's towed to some holding compound leaving you standing on the side of the road. There it languishes and you are deprived of its use.

So what, many people say! These people are usually disqualified drivers, bad drivers or whatever.

But the allegations made by the police remain unproven until they're tested in a court of law. Yet you've been deprived of the use of your vehicle without trial.

After 28 days, and paying all the fees, you get it back. But you still haven't been before a court and in our over-loaded justice system there's no way that you will be.

It seems to me that every citizen has a fundamental right not to be punished in a cruel or unusual way. It's even more fundamental that a citizen should receive a trial before the punishment.

I think this confiscation of vehicles law is repressive and smacks of tyranny. When some, it seems, receive preferential treatment because of their position, say good-bye to the rule of law.

Do we really want a country where the State dictates a punishment without a trial? There are too many countries in the world who already practice that policy. And they're not democratic.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Commercial Scoop User? Help Scoop Survive (and Thrive!)

The ScoopPro licensing terms require that commercial users of Scoop.co.nz pay a reasonable fee in order to access the Scoop site so that this same information remains free and accessible to the wider public regardless of their disposable income. More>>

ALSO:

Joseph Cederwall: Building a Community Newsroom

A combination of new technology, ideas, institutions and business models and a renewed energy and commitment by the Scoop team, means Scoop aims to be at the forefront of the development of this renaissance that we term ‘News 3.0’. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop 3.0: Saving The News

Scoop Co-Founder Alastair Thompson - One of the saddest aspects of the decline of the news industry, not just here in NZ - but everywhere, is that it often seems invisible, in large part because news is a confidence business... More>>

ALSO:

UK Cabinet Backs Deal: Gordon Campbell On The Latest Roll Of The Brexit Dice

Brexit has left the British public looking like a nation of Wellington bus commuters. In both cases, the unholy mess bears no resemblance to what people were promised or the spin being used to justify it. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Democratic Leadership And Trump

On the big picture, the poll predictions were dead right. In the end, the Democratic Party won a clear victory in the House, and lost as expected in the Senate, where it had been defending at least 10 seats in regions that had voted heavily for Trump in 2016. More>>

ALSO: