Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: Judging the judges

25 Responses

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Should we be careful what we wish for when the independence of judges is challenged?

    Yes, we really should. And isn't it ironic how it never seems to be a two way street: When judges express even the mildest criticism of media reporting it's an unacceptable assault on press freedom etc.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11856 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    I'd love to see the NBR do a story on judges as they did in about 1994. They anonymously interviewed several experienced lawyers about all 30 or so high court judges and asked their opinions on them.

    The lawyers sure didn't hold back. Most judges were criticised, several very, very heavily, with only a few not receiving criticism.

    If the NBR can do it once, surely they can do it twice ?

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 576 posts Report Reply

  • Rickai, in reply to Grant McDougall,

    When Tony Molloy said judges were self-important he was spot on. Maybe it's a result of the massive pay cut most take when they join the bench. This also from the man who had these words to say about the profession as he closed his attack on Russell McVeagh in his book "Thirty Pieces of Silver" (love the title!!!):

    “The proper province of the lawyer is not power or self-aggrandizement. It is not to abuse process and grind people down. It is not to deprive them of the full disclosure and the complete justice to which they have every claim. It is not sharp practice. It is not half truths. It is not covert deals. It is not the amassing of great art collections.”

    Since Jan 2007 • 36 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    When judges express even the mildest criticism of media reporting it’s an unacceptable assault on press freedom etc.

    Or when judges dare to question the direction of penal policy. Politicians do tend to be somewhat more moderate in their public discourse regarding specific sentencing instances, but the strict sentencing laws they pass and the discussions around those laws are attacks on the Judiciary’s independence.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3898 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    It is the easiest thing in the world to criticise Judges and just as easy to find a lawyer to agree because for every judgement there is a lawyer who lost

    The great thing with our system is that if/when a Judge gets it wrong we have a system of appeals that can endeavour to get it right, of course that can lead to more appeals with on some occasions the decision seesawing back and forth
    It is not an easy job and it is regulated

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 532 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Patrick,

    No Sensible Sentencing Trust representative then? *verylargesafetywink*

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 232 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Dave Patrick,

    No Sensible Sentencing Trust representative then?
    *verylargesafetywink*

    Do you assume an SST representative would not add to the conversation in some way?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2991 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Do you assume an SST representative would not add to the conversation in some way?

    Probably more that we already know what their contribution will be: “Judges need to be accountable to the public for their decisions, and judges whose decisions piss us off need to be at risk of losing their jobs.” And that contribution is not helpful.

    ETA: Plus, iSST already gets an inordinate volume of column inches/screen time, and I imagine one of the things Russell will be asking about is the level of coverage their opinions get in the MSM.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3898 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    I imagine one of the things Russell will be asking about is the level of coverage their opinions get in the MSM.

    All the more reason to have them on! Although, to be fair to Russell, I think he has.

    we already know what their contribution will be: “Judges need to be accountable to the public for their decisions, and judges whose decisions piss us off need to be at risk of losing their jobs.” And that contribution is not helpful.

    That contribution may not be, but the answers to the follow-up questions: "why?" and "aren't you concerned that...?" could well be.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2991 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Patrick, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Do you assume an SST representative would not add to the conversation in some way?

    I think they would add to the conversation, but not in a way that would be overly constructive

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 232 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Probably more that we already know what their contribution will be: “Judges need to be accountable to the public for their decisions, and judges whose decisions piss us off need to be at risk of losing their jobs.” And that contribution is not helpful.

    Or even political murder. We're thankful not to have that kind of society, no matter how strong the temptation.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4141 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Politicians do tend to be somewhat more moderate in their public discourse regarding specific sentencing instances

    I would respond to that with "up to a point, Lord Copper". I would suggest some politicians are remarkably (and unwisely) intemperate in their attacks on the judiciary, but I guess it's always an easy score to shit on people who can't (and shouldn't) return fire.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11856 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I would suggest some politicians are remarkably (and unwisely) intemperate in their attacks on the judiciary

    They can be, yes, though they tend to be intemperate about The Judiciary rather than specific jurists and judgements. Not all, and not all the time, but much more so than is the inclination of the media or, particularly, iSST and their ilk.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3898 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    All the more reason to have them on! Although, to be fair to Russell, I think he has.

    He has.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3898 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to DeepRed,

    We’re thankful not to have that kind of society, no matter how strong the temptation.

    I was deeply, deeply disturbed to see a former schoolmate comment on FB the other day that he was off to elect Birmingham’s (I think) first mayor. And the Police Commissioner. Electing anyone into the criminal justice food chain gives me all kinds of discomfort.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3898 posts Report Reply

  • Arnaud Wylie,

    Or should we be worried about the pressure on judges – who, after all, are required to follow the sentencing guidelines they are given?

    Is the purpose if the requirements to serve justice or to serve democracy?

    When a judge openly commits fraud due to the "rules", then does that not show that the pursuit of democracy at all costs is dishonourable?

    www.actsinjunction.info

    Nelson • Since Nov 2012 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Arnaud Wylie,

    Sorry, you what? That page is incomprehensible nonsense.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3898 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    The other problem is that it's not uncommon for the mentally ill to use the courts as a venue.

    Typically it starts with losing a custody case and progresses to endless vexatious litigation, often conducted in Latin and involving unusual legal concepts - for instance: refusing to register ones car because Hobson had his toes crossed while signing the Treaty. (The US equivalent is to refuse to pay tax because Texas isn't legally a state).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4413 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    I was deeply, deeply disturbed to see a former schoolmate comment on FB the other day that he was off to elect Birmingham’s (I think) first mayor. And the Police Commissioner. Electing anyone into the criminal justice food chain gives me all kinds of discomfort.

    What possibility of an EDL/BNP/NF/UKIP candidate getting in? It would raise the possibility of judicial scandals like that of Mark Ciavarella's infamous 'kids for cash' kickbacks from the penal-industrial complex. And of course, Arizona's trumper-up-in-chief/birther conspiracist Sheriff Arpaio.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4141 posts Report Reply

  • Arnaud Wylie, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    It's about Judge Richard Russell's admission of fraud from a September 2011 hearing in Nelson. The topic can be confusing because of the ambiguity of legalese and the legal fictions that are employed in the civil process. It's more of a constitutional issue than a case of a rogue judge.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2012 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Arnaud Wylie, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Deeming someone to be mentally ill is a technique used by the system to maintain the appearance of lawful process.

    There is case law for the issue of registration of vehicles which show that while ordinary use of a public resource is a right, commercial use is not a right and is subject to licence.

    Hobson lying about Maori sovereignty is only a small part of the problem.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2012 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Former MP Darren Hughes is now involved with the Electoral Reform Society in the UK and has been talking about ER on the BBC and in other media. They have been warning against how flawed the new elections for the police commissioners were. The turnout was the lowest ever and there is now a petition.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2024 posts Report Reply

  • fury12, in reply to Grant McDougall,

    I recall reading a speech titled ' Judges and Free Speech in New Zealand' by the Hon Grant Hammond.

    The Editor, Jenni McManus, prefaced the „results‟ of The Independent’s 2009 repeat survey with her observations that:

    Judges are empowered to sit in judgement on all of us. But who judges the judges ... most readers welcome the opportunity to learn more about judges; their habits, intellectual and judicial abilities, and their foibles – information previously confined to Chambers parties and barristers robing rooms.
    Hammond also went on to say, The 2009 survey results were not altogether kind. To get the flavour of the gutter-type comments made, it is unfortunately necessary to reproduce some of them. It was said of the Chief Justice that she had been:

    "promoted beyond her abilities and tried to take on too much, meaning the business of the Court is not being dealt with expeditiously. Has a very good brain but did not have much of a practice before being appointed to the bench.‟

    The President of the Court of Appeal back then, "Sir William Young, was said to be:

    arrogant, with a high opinion of himself. Makes off-the-cuff comments that are not necessarily justified but can be damaging ... I‟m not sure if we‟re lucky to have him or he‟s lucky to have the job.”

    'For present purposes, the significant thing about these sorts of bilious outpourings is that judges felt unable or were unwilling to respond, and doubtless that was complicated by the disgraceful attack on the Heads of Bench. In 1994, some judges contemplated suing, but were talked out of it by colleagues. In relation to the 2009 piece, some 15 years later, the then Chief Justice said nothing publicly. And, whatever they thought privately, or said amongst themselves, the judges took no steps. The Attorney-General made no comment.'

    I cracked up laughing about the comment made under anonimity about Sir William Young...These judges ought to be mindful of the fact that they are paid from the public purse and we the New Zealand taxpayer are their employer's.

    Also, so are victims' of crime who many I am sure are very irate at the decisions made in relation to bail applications that has been opposed by the Police.

    It should be the applicant, ie charged person applying for bail to prove to the court that they deserve to be bailed, period!

    WELLINGTON • Since Nov 2012 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Arnaud Wylie,

    Judges are empowered to sit in judgement on all of us

    All of us, meaning all persons. Their jurisdiction is not universal, regardless of the convictions of the faithful.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2012 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Arnaud Wylie,

    Deeming someone to be mentally ill is a technique used by the system to maintain the appearance of lawful process.

    Bank Money-Laundering Whistleblower Committed To High-Security Mental Hospital 7 Yrs Ago ... Turns Out He Was Telling The Truth
    (H/T to What Really Happened )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4627 posts Report Reply

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.