Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Burn The Books Mentality In NZ Legal System

Media Release
Tuesday 29 March, 2005.

Burn The Books Mentality In New Zealand Legal System

New Zealanders who care about the workings of our legal system should be deeply concerned that Anne Hunt, one of our most knowledgeable writers about mental health issues, is undergoing what amounts to a secret trial in order to suppress her most recent book, "Broken Silence", according to the Democrats’ social issues researcher David Tranter.

The book, an account of the legal processes surrounding a sexual abuse case, was published in 2003 and briefly released but then withdrawn by order of the Wellington High Court. It is now subject to an ongoing legal process under which the Court has forbidden Mrs Hunt from letting anybody know the reason she is facing contempt of court and other charges.

Amongst the extraordinary circumstances surrounding this matter, Judge Wild of the Wellington High Court issued an ex parte order prohibiting her from letting even her husband know that she is facing serious charges. Further, it took nine months before Mrs Hunt managed to convince the Court to uplift the order suppressing the existence of the legal proceeding, a court order sought by the plaintiff's lawyer Hugh Rennie QC to allow his client 'his day in court'. Even now, all documents relating to her case remain confidential.

Broken Silence documents a landmark civil claim for exemplary damages legally-aided to the Privy Council because it raised principles of law which an Attorney-General certified as having great public importance. Prior to publication, the manuscript was checked over by a Queen's Counsel familiar with this litigation.

Mrs Hunt, a Horowhenua district councillor, says she is prepared to defend the charges vigorously. More importantly, she is determined to bring her case to the attention of the general public because it sets a dangerous precedent when Judges sanction secret hearings in order to ban books which offend a private citizen.

Secret trials, according to the Law Commission, are warranted only when there is a potential threat to national security. If the New Zealand legal system is going to descend to a burn the books mentality in this case we should all be fearful of the wider consequences, Mr Tranter said.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>


Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>


Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>


Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>


With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news