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ECPAT Concerned by Australian Judge's Decision

Monday April 23rd 2006

ECPAT New Zealand expresses deep concern at the decision of an Australian judge to block the extradition of two Catholic clergymen to New Zealand. Justice Rodney Madgwick alleged it would be difficult for the men to receive a fair trial due to differences between the legal systems in Australia and New Zealand. Denise Arnold - legal advisor for ECPAT NZ says;

“There is no evidence the New Zealand justice system would not allow a fair and just trial of these defendants. Our two legal systems are very similar and are based on the age old premise of being presumed innocent until proven, beyond reasonable doubt, to be guilty. To allow these men to avoid being put to trial is tantamount to frustrating the legal system. To prejudge the complaint by preventing a trial and not allowing the facts of the case to be taken into account is a far greater travesty of justice.

The complainants are entitled to have the charges heard and the defendants are entitled to justice in the country in which the alleged crime is said to have taken place. No longer do sex offenders have to hide out in some third world country to avoid extradition. Escape is as close as Australia. Are the Australian public prepared to become a haven for paedophiles and sex offenders from New Zealand and other countries?”

ECPAT NZ is part of a global network committed to end sexual exploitation of children.

ENDS

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