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Driver sex cases breach Bill of Rights Act

Friday, 13 January 2006

Dunne: Driver sex cases breach Bill of Rights Act

United Future leader Peter Dunne pointed out today that the legislation that will cause some bus drivers to lose their jobs, because of minor sexual offences committed several decades ago, appears to breach the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.

"Section 26 states that 'No one who has been finally acquitted or convicted of, or pardoned for, an offence shall be tried or punished for it again,' " he said.

"There's no doubt that these drivers are being punished again for the crimes they committed and were punished for decades ago as a result of the implementation of this legislation.

"This law, section 29A of the Land Transport Act, needs to be amended as a matter of urgency to provide at least two things:

· a limit on the retrospectivity of the offending legislative provision and

· the introduction of appeal rights with retrospective effect.

"The question is, is this application of the law just in the circumstances of this case?

"In every other instance where Transport New Zealand has the power to revoke a P endorsement there is a right of appeal.

"Section 29B specifically excludes a person who has been convicted of an offence specified in section 29A (3) (b) (sex crimes) from the appeal process.

"S29A is retrospective without limitation.

"The purpose of the legislation is clear but a very blunt instrument has been employed to remedy the harm identified," said Mr Dunne.

ENDS

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