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Contempt of Court

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Scandalised by the Law Commission’s recommendation

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

In my last post, I discussed the Law Commission’s report on contempt of court. I generally supported the recommendations. Here’s one I think they got wrong. The Commission proposes replacing what is now called “scandalising the judiciary” with a new, more limited, statutory offence. I think it should be scrapped altogether, as has been done in […]

The Law Commission reports on Contempt of Court

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

A press conference ignored A press conference on the Todd Barclay affair rather gazumped the launch of the Law Commission’s report on contempt of court in June. No-one from the media turned up. That’s a shame, because the Commission is recommending some significant changes. Some notable recommendations In 2014, I commented on the Commission’s discussion paper, […]

Law Commission on contempt

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

The Law Commission has released its discussion paper on contempt of court. It covers changes to the sub judice rule (under which you can be punished for publishing something that interferes with fair trial rights), scandalising the judicary (under which you can be punished for suggesting judges are biased or corrupt), contempt in the face […]

Vince Siemer and Supreme Court accuse each other of contempt

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

When Vince Siemer was charged with contempt for flagrantly breaching a court suppression order, he made a novel argument: he was upholding the rule of law. The suppression order was made by Winkelmann J in the famous proceedings against the Urewera 18 relating to their alleged para-military exercises in the bush. Winkelmann J ruled that […]

Review of law of contempt: deja vu

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

The Law Commission has announced that it will review NZ’s laws of contempt of court. This will involve a discussion paper about the issues, to be issued next year. I wonder how this fits with another issues/discussion paper commissioned by the government and issued almost exactly two years ago: Reforming the New Zealand Law of […]

We don’t need no stinking press regulation

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

The Herald’s lawyer, Alan Ringwood, argues that we don’t need any statutory press regulation in NZ. Don’t listen to Levenson, he says. We don’t need to go there. (Full article here). I guess it’s not a news flash that the Herald’s lawyer would oppose statutory restrictions on the Herald. But I’m interested in his argument. […]

SC agrees to hear Siemer contempt appeal

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Do judges have power to suppress the contents of whole judgments in criminal cases? If not, then perhaps Vince Siemer has a defence to the contempt ruling against him for posting a suppressed judgment in the Urewera case.  The High Court and Court of Appeal said “yes” (discussions here and here). The Supreme Court has […]

Contemptuous cuppa?

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Is it a contempt of court to discuss cuppagate now that it’s heading to court? John Banks and Steven Joyce seem to be suggesting that now that the issue is heading to court they are somehow precluded from commenting. Wrong. It can be a contempt to cause prejudice to an upcoming trial – especially a […]

Did the Crown breach the suppression order in the Ureweras case?

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

The Crown tells us that as a result of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in the Urewera case, there is no longer sufficient evidence to justify the continuation of the proceedings against a number of those charged solely under the Arms Act… That is, the Crown has revealed that the Supreme Court has ruled some […]

Siemer in contempt

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Vince Siemer has been found in contempt of Court again for, well, for being in contempt of Court. In brazen defiance of a suppression order plastered all over the front of Winkelman J’s decision denying the Urewera defendants a jury trial, Vince posted the judgment on his website. The suppression order said: THIS JUDGMENT IS […]

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