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Smith: Timid Govt tampers with justice

Smith: Timid Govt tampers with justice

A lack of legal expertise in key ministerial positions means the Government tends to tamper with a legal system that needs “radical changes”, United Future justice spokesman Murray Smith said today.

“Essentially the problem is that the Government, with Justice and Corrections Ministers with no legal experience, doesn’t adequately understand the justice system and therefore lacks the confidence to move strongly when it should,” Mr Smith said in responding to the Government’s “wishy-washy” response to a Law Commission report calling for major changes to the courts system.

“We’re talking about a head-in-the-sand approach to the court system,” he said.

Mr Smith cited the Government’s setting up of parallel tribunals, as in the case of the building weather-tightness issue, as typical of the Government’s mishandling of justice issues.

“Rather than address core issues, we have a government that creates duplicate entities,” he said.

Mr Smith said the Government’s timidity was also evident in it not making substantial changes such as requiring defendants to give evidence, or face an adverse inference for not doing so.

“In essence, the Government needs to display more courage and vigour in approaching our legal system,” he said.

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