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Contempt of Court

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Memo to Greg O’Connor

Monday, April 18th, 2011

It’s a bit of a worry when even the police don’t understand the rules of contempt of court. Police Association President Greg O’Connor scores an F on his understanding of the sub judice rule, as evidenced by his appearance on Close Up to defend the police’s handling of the Tiki Taane arrest. The sub judice […]

Sunday Star-Times looks to be in contempt

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Publishing interviews with jurors about the case they have decided is a contempt of court. Our courts have said that if jurors thought  their deliberations may be made public, they’d be less willing to serve on a jury and less willing to be frank during deliberations. Revisiting cases may also upset the finality of jury verdicts. […]

Tweeting in court

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

The English Chief Justice, Lord Judge (yep, that’s his name), has laid down some interim guidelines on tweeting in court. In short, he suggests that tweeting won’t usually prejudice the administration of justice, so it seems that permission should usually be granted. On the other hand, in some circumstances there may be reason to ban […]

Without prejudice?

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Isn’t much of the coverage of the Auckland child abuse case based on the premise that crimes have been committed, and implicitly, that they were by the parents (and another family member)? That includes some of the statements from the government, as where Social Development Minister Paula Bennett is reported as saying that it was […]

Double jeopardy?

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Is the Law Commission being tasked with a job already farmed out to the Dean of VUW’s law school? The Attorney-General engaged VUW dean Tony Smith to write a paper on our contempt of court laws, including the ways in which they are being affected by the internet. Is it undermining confidence in court orders, […]

An unprivileged position II

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Tom Frewen [and Graeme Edgeler] noted that last year the Privileges Committee looked at the issue of the scope of the media’s privilege to report on proceedings in the House, and also concluded that it was much less than the media tend to think it is:  The media play an important role in providing the public with information about thebusiness […]

Siemer’s right-to-jury case

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Predictably, Vince Siemer is not happy about the Supreme Court’s 17 May decision to cut his contempt sentence to 3 months instead of 6. (In fact, he has applied to have it recalled. Good luck with that, Vince). For someone who regards the NZ judiciary as largely corrupt, he’s a glutton for punishment: he goes […]

Siemer wins reduction in sentence for contempt

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Vince Siemer has reshaped the law of contempt in New Zealand. The Supreme Court has ruled 3-2 that the Bill of Rights right to a jury trial applies to those charged with contempt, since they face potential jail terms of more than 3 months. But since it’s unfeasible to give all contempt respondents jury trials, […]

Solicitor-General not going Whale hunting

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

The Solicitor-General has decided not to pursue Mr Oil for contempt of court “at this stage”, though he says he supports the prosecutions for name suppression. He adds that contempt proceedings “remain an option” if Mr Oil’s offending continues or escalates, but would probably be brought after the suppression breaches trial.

Twittering in the courtroom

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

It’s been allowed in the US and Australia, with an Australian judge saying: I believe that the public has a legitimate right to be fully informed of proceedings, particularly proceedings such as (the iiNet case), which have attracted considerable public interest. Twittering can serve to inform the public in a more speedy and comprehensive manner […]

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