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Presumption of Innocence: Yeah Right!

12 November 2010

Presumption of Innocence: Yeah Right!

It’s a nightmare few of us can imagine, being jailed for a crime you didn’t commit. But it happens more often than many Kiwis would like to admit – and it could happen to any one of us.

In the December issue of North & South senior writer Mike White investigates three cases where terrible mistakes saw innocent people jailed. His cover story also looks at ways to protect the public from future miscarriages of justice.

A case in point: two young men were wrongfully convicted of arson after helping Police control traffic at the fire. In another case, a young autistic man was imprisoned for more than two years for a rape he did not commit: in part, simply because he was riding his motorbike at the wrong time.

“These people were lucky their families showed great fortitude in pursuing their cases,” says North & South editor Virginia Larson. “Many more are not so fortunate.

“And these are not instances where the people got off on a technicality or were on the fringes of criminal activity. They were found guilty of crimes they had absolutely no involvement in.”

Railway Houses Sell-off
Also in the December issue of North & South Wellington writer Peter Dyer uncovers information on a major asset sale that has never before been revealed.

In the mid-to-late 1980s, many Railways tenants were forced to leave their houses. But one community in Ngaio, Wellington, managed to successfully challenge the Rogernomics juggernaut.

And as privatisation returns to the public discourse – think water supplies in Auckland and Canterbury – the story of how more than a thousand Railway houses were sold to one man should serve as a warning to us all.

Doctor’s Last Chance
Donna Chisholm talks to one of New Zealand’s highest-profile surgeons, who admits he’s in the profession’s last-chance saloon.

Professor Richard Stubbs is famous for his ground-breaking gastric surgery for obesity and pioneering operations for liver cancer. But one death and a string of patient complaints against him in the past decade means he has paid a few visits to the headmaster’s office for a caning.

Fundamentally it’s all about informed consent. But if he steps out of line again, Stubbs fears medical authorities will have no option but to strike him off.

It’s all in the December issue of North & South magazine on sale from Monday, November 15.

Ends

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