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

 


Legal aid review perpetuates injustice


8 May, 2003
Legal aid review perpetuates injustice

Green MP Nandor Tanczos today criticised the government over its review of legal aid, saying it has failed to address an iniquitous policy that may lead to wrongful convictions.

Justice Minister Phil Goff today defended the practise of refusing legal aid to people facing criminal charges, where they are unlikely to be sentenced to imprisonment if found guilty, in his answer to a question from Nandor in Parliament.

However Nandor, the Green Justice spokesperson, said the policy creates a miscarriage of justice by denying adequate representation for people charged with minor and first-time offences.

"The rationale is that these convictions do not have serious consequences because the person doesn't face jail. The reality is that a first conviction is enormously detrimental. If people are wrongfully convicted because they are not legally represented, they may lose their job or face other significant consequences."

"Without access to good legal advice some people simply plead guilty even thought they committed no crime.

"Once someone has that first conviction there is no going back, and it is more likely that they will be convicted of further offences. All deterrent value of a further criminal conviction is lost"

Nandor challenged Mr Goff's assertion that with a stretched legal aid budget, this was the place to draw the line on access to legal aid.

"Huge amounts of money will be spent on people with a long list of convictions, and more serious charges will inevitably involve more a expensive defence.

"The budgetary implications of extending legal aid to all people facing charges for a first offence would be miniscule in comparison."

Nandor is currently sponsoring the Clean Slate Bill that would see minor convictions wiped after a specified period without reoffending.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Wellington: Predator Free Capital Plan

Wellington City Council (WCC), the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and NEXT Foundation, today announced a joint collaboration to make Wellington the first Predator Free capital city in the world. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Efforts At Self Correction

Thousands of prisoners currently in prison may be entitled to an earlier release than expected – and compensation – because Corrections has incorrectly calculated their term of imprisonment. Unless of course, the government buries its mistakes by changing the law and retro-actively getting itself off the hook… More>>

ALSO:

More Justice & Corrections

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>

ALSO:

Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>

ALSO:

Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>

ALSO:

General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news