Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Pistorius and the lessons for New Zealand

Pistorius and the lessons for New Zealand

March 10, 2014

The process employed to try criminal cases in New Zealand should be continually discussed and debated, a leading University of Canterbury (UC) criminal law academic says.

The global interest in the Oscar Pistorius case illustrates a collective fascination with crime, both its commission and prosecution, Associate Professor Chris Gallavin, Head of UC’s Law School says.

``The case serves as an example of the operation of a system of justice different to our own and, from that perspective, the coverage is a good thing in that it creates interest and debate in our system’ Dr Gallavin says.

``A number of people have said how peculiar they think it is that there is no jury in the case. I usually reply by saying that our concept of law and fair trial is only one conception and not the only conception.

``Apart from the OJ Simpson case, the Pistorius trial is likely to be the most publicised case ever. There is a confluence of matters that make this prosecution so intriguing: from the peculiar nature of the killing itself, to the social standing of those involved, the incredible sporting achievements of the defendant right through to seemingly trivial things such as the attractiveness of both the defendant and the victim.

``Unlike New Zealand, the South African system of justice borrows heavily from a Roman or civil law system of justice. One of the main differences between the systems is the lack of a jury system in South Africa.

``Criminal cases, even serious ones, are heard by a judge alone or a panel of judges sometimes with the use of lay judges who hold no formal legal qualification.

``Under our common law system of justice, where juries are a more or less everyday feature of the criminal courts, we see jury service as an important social service as well as integral to justice being seen to be done.

``With professional judges there is the chance of a more clinical and perhaps legalistic approach to cases, but with juries it could be argued that there is a greater opportunity for a more human approach to criminal conviction.

``While it is difficult to draw comparisons, it is certainly the case that both systems have their strengths and weaknesses and people ought not to view a juryless system as providing all of the answers to the perceived problems of the criminal process in New Zealand.’’

The in-court media coverage maximises the intrigue of the Pistorius case. Although not in the position of allowing a carte blanche right to news media to film and record anything they like in court, New Zealand has come a long way from the role of the court artist whose depictions of in-court scenes were once the only pictorial record allowed to be taken of daily court events.

Professor Gallavin says the New Zealand Media in Courts Review Panel has just released a consultation paper as part of the Chief Justice’s review of in-court television coverage that could ultimately result in significant liberalisation of the rules around filming and recording court proceedings.

``I have no doubt that the Pistorius case will have further twists and turns that will keep the world transfixed on the media coverage, much to the delight, I am sure, of news media providers around the world.’’

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

TV3 Videos: Key's Flip-Flop Over Whale Oil Texts | Slater
Reaction: Greens | More
Dim-Post Link: The Very Odd Slightly Left Of Centre

Gordon Campbell: On Government Arrogance

Right now, National is ramming anti-terrorism measures through Parliament. This legislation will grant the SIS the power to carry out 48 hour bouts of surveillance on anyone without a warrant, and will bestow on government the power to unilaterally revoke anyone’s passports and thus deny them the freedom to travel.

Ludicrously, the public has been given exactly one day to make submissions on these major infringements of their civil liberties. Despite Finlayson’s misleading signals on RNZ that these are only stopgaps until next year’s full review of our security laws, the measures in question will not, in fact, expire until 2018.

Why the insane rush? Good question. More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Key Texts With Whale Oil Released: PM Can’t Be Trusted Over Dirty Politics Defence - Greens

John Key’s answers to questions about dirty politics can’t be trusted, after he was forced to admit that he had misled journalists and Parliament about contact with attack blogger Cameron Slater, said the Green Party today.. More>>

ALSO:

Temporary Release Crackdown Continues: Corrections Review Of Phillip Smith Case

“The review by Corrections’ Chief Custodial Officer reveals that the plan for Smith’s series of temporary releases was overly ambitious and misinformed. He’s a highly manipulative and deceptive person who although technically eligible, should not have been considered for temporary release." More>>

ALSO:

White Ribbon Day: Govt Resumes Sexual Violence Trial Proceedings Work

Justice Minister Amy Adams has asked the Law Commission to resume work on proposals for better supporting victims of sexual violence through the criminal process. The Law Commission will revisit its previous work on alternative pre-trial and trial processes to identify options for improving complainants’ experience in court. More>>

ALSO:

"New Faces, Wise Heads": Andrew Little Announces New Labour Line Up

Labour Leader Andrew Little today announced a bold new caucus line up which brings forward new talent and draws on the party’s depth of experience. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Rick Ellis As Te Papa’s New CEO

The recent appointment of former TVNZ boss Rick Ellis to head Te Papa has copped a fair bit of criticism. Much of it has been inspired by the suspicion that Ellis has been hired to pursue the same purely commercial goals as he did at TVNZ, while similarly neglecting the serious cultural side of his mandate. More>>

Passport Cancellation, Surveillance: Draft 'Foreign Fighters Legislation' Released

The final draft of the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill contains proposals previously announced by Mr Key in a major national security speech earlier this month. More>>

ALSO:

Related

Joint Statement: Establishment Of NZ-China Strategic Partnership

At the invitation of Governor-General Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae and Prime Minister The Rt Hon John Key of New Zealand, President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China made a state visit to New Zealand from 19 to 21 November 2014... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news