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Trio Of Lost Cases - SG Praises Crown Prosecutions

Trio Of Lost Cases Still Sees Solicitor-General Praising Crown Prosecution System

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At a time when the the Police have lost three, high profile cases, the Solicitor General Dr David Collins has told Radio New Zealand the New Zealand Crown prosecution system is the best in the world.

In recent days, the Crown has lost the prosecutions against Chris Kahui, accused of murdering his twin babies, George Gwaze, accused of the sexual violation and murder of his 10 year old niece and Murray Foreman, accused and acquitted of murdering farmer Jack Nicholas.

Talking on Radio New Zealand’s ‘Morning Report’, Dr Collins said the network of private law firms that formed part of the Crown Solicitors’ system was a relatively inexpensive way for the Crown to access top lawyers for prosecution work. He praised the high caliber lawyers and infrastructure the current system produced.

Other lawyers are calling for the implementation of a public prosecution service that would enable prosecutions to be removed from the client/lawyer relationship and involve more efficient and effective prosecutions to be conducted.

Defence lawyer Barry Hart said crown solicitors, who are in private practice and paid on a Crown pay scale under regulations, were too often close to police and unable to provide impartial advice.

But defence lawyer Greg King said the verdicts were proof the system worked, claiming that juries were more savvy about what happened in courts than they used to be.
Also criticised has been the depositions procedures, which not only delay criminal prosecutions but are largely seen as a rubber stamping exercise.

Dr Collins said he's very familiar with the public prosecutor model, which works well in places with high population densities - but not in low population areas.

He said it is the police who decide whether to charge and prosecute someone, although they can seek advice from Crown Solicitors at any time.

While he praised the over-all quality of the current system, he said it is based on human beings and there was always the possibility of mistakes being made.

ENDS

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