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Urgent need for NZ Criminal Cases Review Commission

Urgent need for a New Zealand Criminal Cases Review Commission


The albatross around the neck of New Zealand's criminal justice system is the ancient Royal Prerogative of Mercy appeal route for persons who claim to have been wrongly convicted of a crime. Their only alternative is a costly and lengthy appeal to the Privy Council.

A petition, calling on the government to set up a fully independent Criminal Cases Review Commission, has been launched today. Such an authority would bring the New Zealand jurisdiction into the 21st century.

"In the late 1990's, the UK recognised the need for a highly skilled independent review authority to thoroughly investigate cases where a miscarriage of justice was alleged" says Lynne Dempsey, spokesperson for the NZ CCRC NOW network, "Scotland agreed and Commissions in both jurisdictions have been outstandingly successful, with a steady number of unsafe convictions overturned each year".

New Zealand research indicates that up to 20 innocent people are likely to be in our prisons at any given time.
Maori and Pacific Islanders make up 60% of prison inmates, yet make only 11-16 per cent of appeals through the Royal Prerogative process.

"Are we expected to believe that these ethnic minorities suffer only 10% as many injustices as Europeans?" asks Lynne Dempsey "Such an assumption is ludicrous and unfair. Alarm bells should be ringing. The alienation of maori from the appeal system is a compelling reason for the New Zealand government to stop dragging its feet and set up a user-friendly, totally independent review process".

Petition forms can be downloaded from the website http://www.nzccrcnow.org.nz

ends

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Election Day: Make Sure You're A Part Of It!

Saturday 20 September, is election day, and New Zealanders’ last chance to have a say on who leads the country for the next three years.

“The people and parties we elect tomorrow will be making the decisions that affect us, our families and our communities,” says Robert Peden, Chief Electoral Officer. “It doesn’t get much more important than that, and we need all New Zealanders to use their voice and vote.”

Voting places will be open from 9.00am until 7.00pm on election day. The busiest time at voting places is usually 9.00am - 11.00am.

“Take your EasyVote card with you when you go to vote, as it will make voting faster and easier, and vote close to home if you can. But don’t worry if you forget your card, or didn’t receive one, because as long as you are enrolled to vote, your voice will be heard,” says Mr Peden. More>>

 

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