Parliament

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

 

Public Concern Over Court Proceedings Addressed

Public Concern Over Court Proceedings Addressed


Courts Minister Rick Barker today said that the government is aware of growing public concern over oral preliminary hearings, and the impact having to give evidence twice can have on the victims of crime.

The Criminal Procedure Bill, currently before the House, seeks to address these concerns by allowing depositions to occur based on written evidence unless a judge deems that it is necessary to hear the depositions orally.

"Recent media reports and public outcry have highlighted just how stressful the oral depositions process can be for the victims of crime. This government is committed to making sure that the victims of crime are not needlessly re-victimised by the system," Mr Barker said.

"By shifting the default position and allowing depositions to be based on written evidence, we can significantly reduce the pressures on victims who have to give evidence, free up court time, and make better use of police and judicial resources.

"Under the current system victims appear twice to give evidence, once during the oral preliminary hearing and then again during the trial. It is clear victims want their day in court, but it is important that we do not drag them through a painful and sometimes traumatic process twice, unless it is absolutely essential.

"Provisions in the Bill will tighten and improve the rules around the pre-trial disclosure of evidence by enshrining in law the concept of full disclosure. This will ensure that a defendant has full opportunity to consider the case against them prior to their trial.

The Criminal Procedure Bill is based on recommendations by the Law Commission and seeks to maximise the efficiency and fairness of the criminal justice system.

"In any year thousands of hours of court time are given over to oral depositions. The potential for huge savings in sitting time by not always conducting oral hearings is obvious. It will make life easier for the police officers and expert witnesses who are required to turn up at court and give evidence, free up judges, and ease scheduling pressures.

"I am sure that most defendants would like to have their cases heard earlier and the changes to oral depositions would speed up the process for them as well," Mr Barker said.

In addition the Criminal Procedure Bill seeks to address public concerns over the current double jeopardy laws and addresses a range of systematic issues relating to criminal procedure.  Currently the Bill is in the Committee of the Whole House stage and the government is working to gather support for the sections relating to oral depositions.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice.

Evidently, the National government is similarly desperate for anything that might discredit or derail the Ardern juggernaut, even if that means throwing Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne under a bus More>>

 

Treaty: Agreement In Principle Signed With Moriori

“The Crown acknowledges Moriori was left virtually landless from 1870, hindering its cultural, social and economic development. The Crown also acknowledges its contribution to the myths that the people of Moriori were racially inferior and became extinct." More>>

ALSO:

Susan Devoy: Call For Inquiry Into State Abuse Reaches UN

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is in Geneva and has asked a United Nations committee to urge the New Zealand government to initiate an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions. More>>

ALSO:

(Not National): Cross-Party Agreement On Pike River Re-Entry

The commitment was signed this afternoon by the leaders of Labour, United Future, The Maori Party, and the Green Party and, together with the earlier commitment by New Zealand First, means that there is now a Parliamentary majority behind the families’ fight for truth and justice. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

Mental Health Foundation: 'Positive First Steps'

“The heavy reliance on pilots and targeted approaches in the package announced today makes it plain that additional funding will be needed so that activities that work can be made available throughout New Zealand,” says Mr Robinson. More>>

ALSO:

'Gift' To NZ: Synod Considers Third Christchurch Cathedral Option

Members of the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch will consider three, not two, options regarding the future of the ChristChurch Cathedral... The new option is for the Synod to gift the Cathedral building to the Government for the people of New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Presser: Labour's Water Policy 'Reckless', Says English

The Labour Party has "bumbled into" its policy to charge for water in a "reckless" way that would put a Labour-led government on a collision course with both Maori and other water users, Prime Minister Bill English said at his weekly post-Cabinet press conference.. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election