The Court of Appeal has ruled against the Crown yet again in the latest appeal case related to the controversial Algerian Member of Parliament and refugee Ahmed Zaoui.
In ruling on aspects of the Judgement of Justice Williams from the High Court, the three judges in the Court of appeal confirmed that the Inspector General of Security and Intelligence – Justice Paul Neazor - will have to take Mr Zaoui's human rights into account when he considers the validity of the security risk certificate under which Mr Zaoui is presently being detained.
The crown appealed against Mr Williams' decision, arguing that the Inspector General's role ought to be a narrow one confined essentially to making sure that the certificate had been properly issued.
The Court of Appeal has however ruled that Justince Neazor is required to conduct an independent assessment of the evidence under which the risk certificate has been issued.
Moreover a cursory look at the judgement indicates the court has held that the national security considerations Justice Neazor needs to take into account are as defined in the refugee convention, not as contained in the Immigration Act and the SIS Act, as argued by the crown.
In essence the judgement raises the threshold of risk required to be found in order for Ahmed Zaoui to be deported.
At first glance the decision also contains a clearly set out framework by which Justice Neazor is expected to make his decision.
Though the three judges have all written their own judgements, the decision is not a split decision, and this should make it harder to appeal should the crown decide to do so.
This latest victory in the Court of Appeal brings the score in the Court of Appeal to:
Ahmed Zaoui's legal team 2.5
Crown 0.5 (giving the crown a partial victory - by way of a split decision - on the issue of Mr Zaoui's detention in a penal institution).
The crown has effectively lost both today's appeal, and the appeal by TVNZ over Mr Zaoui's right to speak to the media.
In the High Court the score is similar with the crown having lost over the issue of Mr Zaoui's human rights consideration and on the allegations of bias against the previous Inspector General of Security and Intelligence Justice Laurie Grieg.
In the High Court the crown won a partial victory on the issue of detention and won on the issue of the TVNZ interview. However the latter decision has since been overturned, and is now being appealed by the crown to the Supreme Court.
In the meantime Ahmed Zaoui is rapidly approaching his second anniversary of arriving in New Zealand. He has been held in prison since he arrived.