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

 

District Court responds to high incidence of disabilities

CHIEF DISTRICT COURT JUDGE FOR NEW ZEALAND

TE KAIWHAKAWĀ MATUA O TE KŌTI-Ā-ROHE

Judge Jan-Marie Doogue

PRINCIPAL YOUTH COURT JUDGE OF NEW ZEALAND

TE KAIWHAKAWĀ MATUA O TE KŌTI TAIOHI

Judge John Walker

16 August 2018

The District Court is to consider adopting a different approach to young adult offenders to take account of the high incidence of neurodisabilities among those appearing in court.

The Chief District Court Judge, Jan-Marie Doogue, and the Principal Youth Court Judge, John Walker, have been monitoring the mounting evidence about the impact of neurodisability, mental illness, intellectual disability and acquired brain injury on young offenders.

Together they are exploring how to apply latest knowledge about the way these factors impact on the developing brain, particularly to young adults who appear in the District Court.

Chief Judge Doogue believes that there are lessons to be learnt from Youth Court processes that could be adopted to better recognise the needs of young adults appearing in the District Court.

Judge Walker says the Youth Court is confronted by the disabilities affecting young people which include foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, autism, communication disorder, dyslexia and those suffering from acquired brain injury.

“These disabilities occur at a very much higher rate in those who appear in court than in the general population,” Judge Walker says.

“When this is added to the increasing identification of mental illness and intellectual disability and the delayed brain developments that affects all young adults, the scale of the issue becomes apparent.

“These disabilities are fixed and do not stop when a young person reaches 17 and enters the District Court,” Judge Walker says.

The Youth Court has well developed processes to respond to the complex needs of these young people, whereby their disability and lack of maturity is taken into account in the way the court runs. These include having multi-disciplinary teams in court and ways for young people to participate in their court case. However, these processes do not generally extend into the adult court.

Chief Judge Doogue says if the District Court is to deliver effective responses to offending, the defendant needs to be able to understand what is happening and to be able to fully participate in the hearing.

“Many European courts have special processes for young adults and have had those processes for a long time. Recent reports in Europe and the United Kingdom have highlighted the need for these processes.

“It just needs us as Judges to appreciate that we cannot treat all young adults like they are fully developed adults.”

The Chief Judge’s Advisory Board will continue to work on next steps at its next meeting in September, and how it can adapt current processes to better reflect individual needs.

Chief Judge Doogue stresses that this is a court process issue and does not require any changes to legislation. Sentencing already takes account of age and disability. Any change in process would avoid a blanket approach so the response would be better tailored to individual needs.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Our Military Roles In Iraq & Afghanistan

The politics of the deployment extension have degenerated into a slanging match about whether the previous National government was right or wrong to make the initial commitment to Iraq – and whether the extension is a responsible thing given our joint training role in Iraq with Australia, or is hypocritical in the light of prior statements made by a previous Labour leader etc. etc. etc.

As usual, the benefit – or otherwise – of our military presence to the people on the receiving end has barely had a look in. More>>

 

Commissioner To Be Appointed: Govt To Dismiss Board Of Whitireia And WelTec

Education Minister Chris Hipkins has made a preliminary decision to appoint a Commissioner to Whitireia and WelTec to address the two polytechnics’ financial woes. More>>

ALSO:

Open Government Action Plan: Government To Proactively Release Cabinet Papers

The Cabinet papers will be released no later than 30 business days after a Cabinet decision. This process will be in place for Cabinet papers lodged from 1 January 2019... More>>

ALSO:

NZ Initiative: Evidence Of "Huge" Government Waste

It is not so much that spending is being literally wasted. Rather the best performing countries are achieving much better outcomes relative to their spending. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Ardern Pep Talk

The intolerance being shown as the coalition process unfolds in New Zealand betrays our depressing appetite for a tidily totalitarian style of government where everyone is expected to march in lockstep. More>>

ALSO:

Last Two: All Charter Schools To Join State System

The decisions on Tūranga Tangata Rite in Gisborne and Waatea School in Auckland mean that all 12 charter schools that applied to become designated character or state integrated schools have now been approved. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels