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


Bill to improve fairness efficiency of proceedings

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Justice

1 July 2004

Media Statement

Bill to improve fairness, efficiency of proceedings

The Criminal Procedures Bill, which had its first reading in Parliament today, will allow criminal proceedings to be more efficiently managed, while ensuring maximum fairness for everyone involved, says Justice Minister Phil Goff.

"The Bill makes changes to jury trials, introduces exceptions to the double jeopardy rule, and reforms preliminary hearings. It is the result of reforms that the government has been working on since 2001, and responds to Law Commission recommendations and developments overseas," Mr Goff said.

"The Bill introduces 11 to 1 majority verdicts in place of unanimous verdicts.

"This will address the problem of 'rogue' jurors, who produce a hung jury for reasons that have nothing to do with the merits of the case; make jury tampering more difficult, and it allow a single juror to register dissent with a verdict rather than go along with a decision against his or her conscience.

"While the majority verdict reform will attract comment, it is not radical. The United Kingdom, for example, has had 10:2 majority verdicts since 1967.

"The Bill also provides for judge-alone trials for complex cases likely to take longer than a month, and where there is evidence of juror intimidation, which from time to time has been an issue in gang-related cases.

"Recently the government announced a $9 million boost to juror fees. This Bill contains further measures to make it easier to serve on juries, including the ability to defer service for up to 12 months to a more convenient time.

"It will also become an offence for employers to prejudice the position of an employee summoned for jury service. At the same time, the penalty for failing to answer a summons will increase from $300 to $1000.

"The Bill creates two exceptions to the double jeopardy rule, for tainted acquittal and compelling new evidence cases, which is consistent with law in the UK, and reforms proposed in Australia.

"The first exception will apply if an acquitted person is later found guilty of committing perjury or intimidating a witness during the first trial. This will ensure that those who resort to such tactics cannot benefit from their own wrongdoing.

"The second exception relates to compelling new evidence. Not to be able to hold somebody accountable for a crime in the face of compelling evidence of guilt represents a major injustice to any victims, and potentially undermines public confidence in the justice system.

"Safeguards will be introduced to protect against any misuse of this exception. It will only apply to serious crimes carrying a maximum penalty of 14 years or more imprisonment; the evidence must not have been discoverable through better investigation before the first trial, and it must strongly suggest guilt.

"Police will not be about to reinvestigate an acquitted person without consent from the Solicitor-General; the Solicitor-General, and then Court of Appeal, must then be satisfied that new and compelling evidence of guilt exists and that a retrial is in the interests of justice. Finally, there can be only one retrial.

"The exceptions are not retrospective, so acquittals obtained before the legislation commences will remain intact. However I welcome submissions on that; on whether the 14-year threshold captures the right offences, and whether tainted acquittal exceptions should apply when a third party perverted a trial.

"The third major reform in this Bill involves evidence being presented in written form at preliminary hearings, with automatic committal, unless either party applies for an oral hearing and the court agrees it is appropriate.

"These changes make it important that defendants are given details of the case against them, and in a timely manner. Under this Bill, the prosecution must, within 21 days, disclose all relevant information. Defendants will have limited disclosure obligations in relation to alibis and expert witnesses," Mr Goff said.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Peters/Ardern Triumph

There are a lot of good reasons to feel joyful about this outcome. It is what so many young voters – the best hope for the country’s future – wanted.

Far more important than the implications for the Economy Gods ( is the dollar up or down? ) last night’s outcome will also mean many, many vulnerable New Zealanders will have a better life over the next three years at least.

Yet the desire for change was in the majority, across the country..>>>More


Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome | Greens on their joining Govt | EDS welcomes new govt | Immigrant groups worry | Feds ready to engage new coalition government | Labour Ministers of the Crown announced


Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election