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Kangaroo Court and Bush Justice

05.07.2005

Kangaroo Court and Bush Justice

Ministry of Health Public Health Programmes Manager Graeme Gillespie has stated he could not understand why former Wheatsheaf Tavern owner John van Buren liquidated his company to avoid prosecution under the Smokefree Environments Amendment Act when he was ‘only facing fines of a few thousand dollars if convicted’.

“Gillespie understated the penalties for breaches of the Act’, says WIN Party spokesperson Dave Clarke, “as he is well aware his department actively seeks liquor licence suspension for any alleged breaking of the smoking ban in bars, prior to any charges being heard in court”.

On 14 June 2005, the Liquor Licensing Authority suspended Cambridge hotel owner Dean Risi’s liquor on-licence for three weeks. The Authority took into account Risi’s alleged breaches of the Smokefree Environments Amendment Act when determining the length of suspension.

“Risi has never been convicted of any offence under the Smokefree Environments Amendment Act”, says Clarke, “but in Paragraph [61] of their decision (No. PH 430 - 432/2005), the Authority clearly states the period of suspension reflects Risi's misguided attitude to his responsibilities to the Smoke-free Environments Act”.

“The Ministry of Health sought to have Risi’s licence suspended for alleged breaches of the Act and the LLA delivered, dealing out punishment for yet to be proven offences”, says Clarke,” which can be likened to nothing more than a kangaroo court hearing and bush justice”.

ENDS

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