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Minister’s proposed Criminal Records policy “disconcerting"

Judicial Support for Media Release Justice Minister’s proposed Criminal Records policy “disconcerting”- Rethinking

“Chief District Court Judge Jan-Marie Doogue’s decision to stand alongside the Hon Judith Collins in promoting the ability to publicly access criminal records at the ‘click of a button’ is disconcerting,” says Kim Workman, of Rethinking Crime and Punishment.  He was referring to a Sunday Star Times article, which reported that Judge Doogue was an ally of the Minister of Justice in supporting the proposed policy

“This is a significant departure from the government’s position that the country's top judges should stay out of politics and concentrate on administering the law. In 2009, the Chief Justice was crudely silenced by the then Minister of Justice, when she expressed her reservations publicly about the direction of criminal justice policy.”

“As Minister Collins delicately put it, some groups will "scream and cry" about the plan, but believes there is overwhelming public interest in making the information available.  What she means is that this is a highly charged political issue, and one which has a populist appeal.”

“If the government’s position has changed toward public judicial comment, then ideally the judiciary should have the freedom not only to publicly support proposed criminal justice policy, but to publicly disagree with it.

Kim Workma

Rethinking Crime and Punishmen


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