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Independent assessor named for Waiouru

Thu, 28 Oct 2004

Independent assessor named for Waiouru investigation

Defence Minister Mark Burton today announced that former High Court Judge, Hon David Morris is to be appointed to act as independent assessor for the Ministerial Inquiry to examine the responses and comments received relating to alleged abuses at the Waiouru Regular Force Cadet School.

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"Hon Morris had a long and distinguished career as a Crown Solicitor and a High Court Judge. His personal integrity and status assure that the assessment of these claims will be treated credibly, seriously, and professionally. His judicial experience will enable him to separate issues of mistreatment from more serious allegations that, even in the context of the time, may amount to criminal offences.

"These attributes, combined with his complete independence of the Defence Force, Police, and Government, make Hon Morris ideal for the role of assessor," said Mark Burton.

"Hon Morris will evaluate all claims and views raised by former cadets of the Waiouru school in context, and investigate them in a neutral manner through a Ministerial Inquiry.

"At the completion of this Inquiry, Hon Morris will prepare a report that I, in consultation with the Attorney-General, will present to Cabinet," said Mark Burton. "This report will detail the facts surrounding the allegations, as well as identifying any further appropriate action that may be required.

"I reiterate that these are complex, historical claims, many of which date back between 25 and 45 years. Army will fully cooperate with Hon Morris in this investigation, making available all relevant existing information in a timely manner."

As well as extensive experience with criminal law, Hon Morris has also been involved with a number of inquiries over the years, including the National Women's Hospital cervical cancer Inquiry, investigations into the Mr Asia drug ring, and the Erebus Commission of Inquiry.

Mark Burton says that he will meet with Hon Morris next week, following which final terms of reference will be released, as well as practical details of the Inquiry.

ENDS


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