By Selwyn Manning – Scoop Co-Editor
Lawyers for Algerian refugee Ahmed Zaoui have sought (Thursday March 18 2004) in the Auckland High Court to have the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security stood down from a judicial review.
Inspector General Laurie Greig was to review the Security Intelligence Service’s decision to issue a Security Risk Certificate against Ahmed Zaoui. The Security Intelligence Service (SIS) claims Mr Zaoui poses a security risk to New Zealand’s national interest.
In contrast, the Refugee Status Appeals Authority has deemed Ahmed Zaoui a bona fide refugee who ought to be given freedom and asylum in New Zealand.
Zaoui’s legal team, headed by Rodney Harrison QC, contended Inspector General Laurie Greig displayed apparent bias against Mr Zaoui’s claim for political asylum and is therefore unfit to conduct the review.
Much of today’s proceedings, heard before two High Court judges, Justice Peter Salmon and Justice Rhys Harrison, concerned comments Greig made in an interview with Listener journalist, Gordon Campbell, in November 2003.
Greig’s reputation had received earlier criticism when in the 1990s, he deemed the SIS acted lawfully when it broke into the home of academic and anti-GATS activist, Aziz Choudry (regular Scoop columnist). See Scoop article: The Man Who Spooked The Spooks.
Later the Court of Appeal found Greig’s ruling to be incorrect and deemed the SIS had illegally broken into Choudry’s home and invaded his privacy. Choudry was issued $100,000 in compensation. The New Zealand Government later changed the law to allow the SIS, under conditions, to break in to people’s homes.
Should Justices Salmon and Harrison find Greig did display apparent bias against Zaoui’s case, then the Executive (the Government) would likely appoint a substitute to conduct the review.
This week’s High Court proceeding is the latest in a long series of judicial argument that has pitted Ahmed Zaoui’s claims of rightful asylum against counterclaims by the SIS - as represented by The Crown.