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Opposition to National’s crime law changes mounts

Charles CHAUVEL
Justice Spokesperson
Lianne DAZIEL
Associate Justice Spokesperson

18 August 2011

Opposition to National’s crime law changes mounts

The Government can no longer ignore opposition to the controversial centrepiece of its criminal law reform with increasing numbers of legal experts expressing grave concerns about the policy, Labour says.

The Criminal Procedures Bill is currently stalled after both the Maori and ACT party caucuses voted last week to oppose it because of changes to jury trials and the presumption of innocence.

“In Parliament this afternoon, Labour's Associate Justice Spokesperson, Lianne Dalziel, tabled letters from the New Zealand Law Society, the New Zealand Bar Association, and the Criminal Bar Association, confirming that each group has significant reservations about the legislation,” Charles Chauvel said.

“Their opposition follows criticism from the Chief Justice and the late Chief District Court Judge to aspects of the Bill.

"Labour, which issued a strongly-worded minority report (attached) opposes much of the Bill. There are some extreme measures in the legislation that we will not support. However, we do recognise that court processes need to be sped up,” Lianne Dalziel said.

A letter offering to discuss how the Bill could proceed, had been written to Justice Minister Simon Power last week, but he had yet to respond.

"The Minister should now do what he should have done at the outset - sit down and negotiate broad cross-party support for the many good aspects of this Bill, admit there are some objectionable ones and discard those,” Charles Chauvel said.

ENDS

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