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Attorney-General Statement On Contact With Courts

16 November 2001

Attorney-General Margaret Wilson said today she had now considered a Courts Department report on a telephone call list MP Tariana Turia made to Maori Land Court Chief Judge Joseph Williams.

The report was referred to Margaret Wilson by Courts Minister Matt Robson.

Margaret Wilson said it was clear from the report that Tariana Turia had not interfered in the course of justice.

“Tariana Turia was attempting to clarify whether or not allegations made by a constituent were correct. The allegations related to the status of a court action involving the constituent.

“The contact with the Judge was inappropriate. It is important that all members of Parliament are conscious of not being seen to influence the judicial process.

“I will discuss with Tariana Turia the need to ensure that her electorate office procedures reflect the correct protocols for seeking information about court cases.

“In this case it would have been more appropriate for an electorate staff member to have made contact with the court registry.

“As the Prime Minister has noted, it is important that all ministerial staff have a clear understanding of what is an appropriate form for communications of this nature,” Margaret Wilson said.

Ends


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