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Attorney General on a Witch Hunt?

Attorney General on a Witch Hunt?

Monday 18 Feb 2002 Stephen Franks Press Releases -- Justice, Law & Order

The report for the Minister of Courts on Justice Fisher should tell us all why the Hon Margaret Wilson feels compelled to try to second-guess the Chief Justice, who dealt with this more than a year ago. It should also tell us why officials are snooping into Judges' computers, ACT Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said.

"It is constitutionally improper for Ms Wilson to be trying to exploit alleged employment terms against Justice Fisher.

"We have already been told that the Chief Justice found no breach of the law. We know there will be no `employment contract' rules governing this. If there were, all New Zealanders should know about them now because most of us thought the appointment conditions of Judges were for Parliament to decide.

"It should tell us just what the Attorney General's role in all this is. She has been a pitiful defender of the rule of law and constitutional convention in Cabinet, most recently telling us that she wants to replace the Court of Appeal because they gave her an unwelcome decision on her Employment Relations Act. When it involves an undoubtedly colourful but expert Judge there is even more cause for concern.

"If the Attorney General now wants to try another tack in suppressing the independence of our judiciary, by using employment law terms, then we all need to see that report. The report should not be restricted to her co-conspirators in Cabinet.

"This is not to say that Justice Fisher should escape criticism, if the sites he has been visiting are unsavoury. If they involve vicious porn then there is clearly a reason for concern.

"But the Attorney General who does not bother about the Bill of Rights when she proposes criminal defamation laws or the Electoral `Integrity' Law choker chain, cannot be trusted if she starts asserting a power to censor Judges and perhaps trying to remove them on the basis of alleged employment contract terms.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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