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Judgment: SC 72/2005 Cumming v R

CUMMING v R SC 72/2005 [15 May 2008]

SC 72/2005
[2008] NZSC 39


Hearing: 19 October 2006 and 28 February 2008 Court: Elias CJ, Blanchard, Tipping, Anderson and Gault JJ
Counsel: R M Lithgow QC and N Levy for Appellant
J C Pike and M D Downs for Crown
R E Harrison QC Amicus Curiae (on 28 February 2008)
Judgment: 15 May 2008


A The appeal is allowed.

B The convictions are set aside.

C A new trial is ordered.

(Given by Anderson J)

[1] In November 2002 Mr Cumming was tried, without counsel, and convicted of serious crimes. At various times before his trial began counsel had represented him. Some he dismissed; others decided they could not continue to act in view of allegations he had made against them. The Court appointed one of the latter, Mr S J Shamy, as amicus curiae to assist at the trial — notwithstanding this, Mr Cumming defended himself in a way that was extremely aberrant and self-damaging. An appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed. The information considered by this Court, including reports it caused to be obtained from expert psychiatrists, has satisfied us that throughout his trial Mr Cumming was severely mentally disordered. The issue on this appeal is whether Mr Cumming’s convictions ought to be quashed on the grounds that a miscarriage of justice has been occasioned by his mental condition.


See... Full judgment (PDF)

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