Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Compensation For A Wrongly Convicted Individual

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Justice
Media Statement

3 September 2000


Justice Minister Phil Goff announced today that Cabinet has decided to pay $570,696.93 by way of compensation to an Auckland man who was wrongly convicted and imprisoned on sexual charges.

The man - whose details have been suppressed from publication by order of the Courts –was charged with indecent assault and anal intercourse on his two sons, both then aged under 12 years. He was convicted in 1995 in respect of one of the two boys. The Court of Appeal quashed his convictions without an order of re-trial after both his sons retracted their allegations. He served approximately 14 months in prison.

“The payment of compensation in this case, the first under the criminal compensation criteria adopted by Cabinet in 1998, follows the recommendations of Mr David Williams QC who was asked to independently examine this matter, " Mr Goff said.

Mr Williams has certified that in his view the Auckland man is innocent beyond reasonable doubt of the offences he was charged with. He has recommended that a total sum of $570,696.93 be paid as compensation for the pecuniary and non-pecuniary losses incurred by the man.

“The Government accepts without reservation the finding of innocence by Mr David Williams QC and has decided to pay compensation at the level assessed by the QC.

“As a father I can only imagine the appalling experience that this man has gone through. There can be nothing worse for a parent than to be wrongly convicted of sexually abusing your own children. Given the nature of the charges, this man would have been despised in prison as well as the community.

"I know the traumatic effect this case had on his parents and partner. His parents who were in their sixties had to mortgage their home and go back to work in order to meet legal costs. Both sadly died before the wrong done to their son was put right.

"With the assistance of the compensation payment, I hope that the man, his partner and children are now able to make a fresh start.

“Mr Williams found no evidence of wrongdoing or malice on the part of the agencies involved in this case. Neither was there any suggestion of bad faith on the part of the Police. However, Mr Williams did conclude that the Police officer in charge of this case committed a serious error by failing to advise the man’s lawyer that the children had retracted their allegations before the trial.

"As it turned out the retractions were withdrawn by the children within 48 hours of being made but the Police failed to make those facts available to defence counsel so there was no cross-examination about the retractions at the trial. The Police have accepted that this amounted to an error of judgment and the Commissioner of Police has apologised unreservedly to the Auckland man.

“This compensation payment demonstrates the government's commitment to putting right serious mistakes made in the criminal justice system.

“An individual’s right to liberty is at the core of the criminal justice system in New Zealand. When a person has been wrongly convicted and deprived of that liberty then, as a society, we should make good the losses incurred by that person," Mr Goff concluded.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Crowdsale And Crowdfunding Campaign: Help Create The Future Of Independent News

Two weeks to go! The Scoop 3.0 plan aims to create NZ’s first community-owned, distributed news and media intelligence ecosystem in 2019. We believe this ScoopPro media monetisation approach can be scaled and spread globally to support local and independent news efforts in regional New Zealand and around the world.

Scoop is an ecosystem, it would not exist without those who contribute to it, read it and rely on it for professional media purposes. Generous past support from this ecosystem has enabled us to come this far in developing our business model. Support our PledgeMe Campaign>>


14/11: Two Years’ Progress Since The Kaikoura Earthquake

Mayor John Leggett said it was a day for reflection, but also a time to recognise the work by many people to support progress towards recovery made across Marlborough since November 2016. More>>


Pike River: Mine Drift Re-Entry Plan To Proceed

“I’ve decided the Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau Mā Iwa - Pike River Recovery Agency, recommended course of action to enter the drift, using the existing access tunnel, is by far the safest option,” said Andrew Little. More>>


Appointments: New High Commissioner To Australia Announced

“Dame Annette King needs no introduction given her long running career as a parliamentarian where she has previously held a number senior Cabinet portfolios, including Justice, Police and Health. She also was Parliament’s longest serving female MP with 30 years’ service,” said Mr Peters. More>>


Two Years Since Kaikoura: Silvia Cartwright To Lead Inquiry Into EQC

“The inquiry will be the first of its kind under the Public Inquiries Act 2013 and will have all the powers of a Royal Commission, be independent of Government and make its report directly to the Governor-General. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Royal Commission Into Child Abuse

Obviously, it is good news that the coalition government has broadened the scope of its Royal Commission into the abuse of children, beyond its previous focus on children in state care. More>>


Cases Delayed: Court Staff Refuse To Handle Sentencing Papers

Dozens of court cases have reportedly been delayed, as court staff escalate industrial action at two Auckland courts by enforcing a ban on handling sentencing papers. More>>


Education: Primary Teachers Rolling Strikes

RNZ Report: More than 100,000 primary school students in Auckland will be home from school today as teachers and principals walk off the job for the second time this year. It's the start of a week of rolling one-day strikes around the country, after the collapse of contract negotiations last Thursday. More>>


"Process Was Sound": Inquiry Into Haumaha Appointment Released

The Inquiry’s purpose was to examine, identify, and report on the adequacy of the process that led to the appointment. It found the process was sound and no available relevant information was omitted. More>>





InfoPages News Channels