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Criticism of Justice system needs to be heard

PeterEllis.org.nz 24 April 2006

Criticism of NZ Justice system needs to be listened to.

Australian judge Rodney Madgwick has delivered a verdict that effectively says that those accused of historical sex abuse allegations in New Zealand are unable to get a fair trial. This judgment follows the recent petition associated with the Christchurch Creche case concerned with similar issues. The petition requested a commission of inquiry, headed by an overseas judge, into the way sex abuse allegations are investigated and prosecuted in NZ.

Peterellis.org.nz renews calls for such a commission of inquiry to take place urgently, spokesperson Brian Robinson said today. "New Zealand is reaping the consequences of failing to deal honestly and effectively with the failure of justice in the Christchurch Creche case, both in the conduct of the investigation and trial and the provision of remedies afterwards."

Sex abuse is a terrible crime, but countering such abuse is not advanced by locking up innocent men, or condoning a system that has been branded by Judge Madgwick as "unjust and oppressive".

Peterellis.org.nz also calls on all lawyers who have rushed in with knee-jerk reactions to defend the system, to step back a while, and actually read the full judgment of Rodney Madgwick. The appropriate action is not to whinge that NZ is being treated unfairly but to fix the glaring defects in our legal system. Madgwick's comments equate our judicial system to that of a banana republic, as lawyer John Miller has pointed out. Rather than petulantly calling out "nonsense" and "bizarre" lawyers would be better advised to make suggestions to improve our justice system - to at least the standard, or better - of what is expected in Australia.


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