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PM needs to heed Court of Appeal plea on Zaoui

17 September 2004

Hon Matt Robson MP, Progressive Deputy Leader

PM needs to heed Court of Appeal plea on Zaoui

The Court of Appeal today has urged the government to change its regulations so that a District Court judge has the power to release Ahmed Zaoui, and any other refugee in his situation.

Such refugees could be released to either the Mangere Refugee Centre or into the community on bail conditions. Mr Zaoui’s lawyers had argued that he could be released into the care of the friars of the Catholic Dominican order who could care for him.

“The Court has also made it clear that they were hampered by the fact that the government would not provide them with full information on the grounds of national security

“I will be taking up with my coalition partners the need to heed the decision so that both natural justice and the rule of law can prevail,” said Matt Robson.

In a 2-1 split decision, and with a vigorous dissenting opinion from Justice Hammond, the Court of Appeal decided that Mr Zaoui has to stay in jail while the review of the security risk certificate is being conducted by justice Paul Neazor.

“The Court of Appeal decision, on a second application, to allow TVNZ and other media to interview Ahmed Zaoui is an important victory for a free press and the public’s right to be fully informed,” said the Progressive MP.

Note: The key part of the decision is Justice McGrath’s opinion at paras 109 – 113. He finds the detention is lawful and asks for a change.



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