New Zealand's Highest Court Now In Total Crisis Mode

I do not like the word crisis, it is overused.  I like to save it for special occasions and here is one such one.

Just a day after news was released that the President of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Helen Winkelmann  used a recent speech at The Northern Club to announce that Judges needed to come from a wider variety of backgrounds, she got her wish for them then to act accordingly.

Who is laughing now?

The latest appointed to the Supreme Court in May, The Hon Justice Joe Williams, has just six months later thrown not as reported a legal curve ball but a large hard knuckle ball firmly at the head of the whole New Zealand legal establishment.  This would not matter if he was a lower ranked High or District Court Judge, but saving this for the Supreme Court means it has to actually be dealt with seriously.

Least I suffer a zillion politically motivated complaints to the Law Society from the usual fucktardery of suspects, I cannot possibly react to his comments in the extremely eloquent manner in which I have become accustomed.  Directly criticising a Judge least of all a Supreme Court one is more than a little bit of a trip to the naughty chair.  However you would not need to read much of my blog or multiple award-winning illegally obtained emails from 2014 to figure out how I would like to comment.

Like many in the legal profession past and present, I think the Peter Ellis case was an atrocious piece of policing and law and quite possibly Ellis was very hard done by.  But he is dead and every millimetre of evidence seems to have been gone over at least twice. Sadly, we are unlikely to ever know the truth about what happened.

There are legal avenues and exceptions available relating to this matter and in any instance, New Zealand's highest court does not really have to follow overseas precedents on anything, we can have our own Judges decide to venture in their own ways.  The basis however of our entire legal system is that we have a western democracy, a specific rule of law and this is based primarily from a system brought about from our Motherland and Commonwealth partners.  Ellis' case could continue based on exceptions available should the bench decide and these were argued today.  There was absolutely no need to invoke what happened next as reported.  The Hon Justice Williams did this entirely on purpose, more significantly completely unsolicited by both parties but I guess completely in accordance with the Chief Justice's wishes in her speech.

But Justice Joe Williams threw a curveball into the arguments from both sides when he suggested that New Zealand didn't need to follow decisions set in any other country, and could establish an entirely new rule based on tikanga Māori.
"There's nothing to say that the appellant's case dies when they do … This is a very western idea that on demise you have nothing to protect.
"If we are serious about tikanga, should New Zealand divert from that very anglo approach?" he said.
"In a tikanga context … an ancestor has even more reputation to protect. There's more tapu, more mana to protect."
Whenever I see the word "mana" I just replace it with ego, the word tapu I replace with sorcery and witchcraft.   One of the arguments is that Ellis' mother has been affected.  A fair argument but hello, every criminal could argue a weeping mother.  Good lord if this argument is allowed on an open tikanga basis, Winston Peters will take defamation and privacy cases while he is in the grave the way he keeps going on.  Earl Hagaman for example had no such luck of having The Hon Justice Williams acting for him after his mana was trampled over when he died fighting Andrew Little. 

And if ancestors are responsible for the positive rights of a person, how about the negative? Extending the lunacy, for example once a person is dead can their relatives survive as a defendant to face the adverse litigation?  Interesting conceptually. I can’t see much demand for Maori in lining up to do the remaining time on a member of their whanau’s sentence for those who die in jail or awaiting trial either.
This generated some heated discussions across the bench, as Justices debated whether that would open the floodgates for too many cases to be brought forward, and asked for someone to find some statistics. 
I bet and indeed hope there was.  Inaudible private gasps as well from the collective.  Sitting on the list were the Chief Justice and The Hon Justices O'Regan, Williams, Glazebrook and Arnold.

Ellis, was as white as Casper the bloody ghost, Maori sure did not embrace him as whanau when he was alleged to be a filthy pedo.  His Counsel have never argued for this "tikanga approach" (discussed here) and least of all, the victims being from Christchurch in those times, were very likely all white as well.

Unlike other instances where it has appeared before the Courts, there is nothing about the case of Peter Ellis that has anything to do with a Maori or their tikanga.
Neither had prepared arguments either for or against a tikanga approach when preparing for the hearing, though the Crown did concede that it was something "the court must be open to".
The case was adjourned for five weeks to allow both sides to bring submissions addressing the issue of tikanga, and will continue in the new year. 
Five weeks? That would be the 19th of December. Perhaps the last working days before that "very western idea" of Christmas!

There is no way in that time you can adequately address an issue of massaging the ego of wider family of the deceased, and complex sorcery and spirits for their formal integration into New Zealand law.  Not to mention and of most importance, all the treaty consultants wizards, are busy celebrating their rapidly expanding long lunches based on consulting how to take this tikanga legal rabbit out of a hat from now on in.  As I discussed yesterday.  Go have a look shortly and they'll all be on the activist shouty liberal hell-hole that is Twitter having a group moment extending out from their wrists.

One has already likened it to this moment in the great movie The Castle "The Vibe".



That the Supreme Court even opened a serious legal discussion on this rabbit;

a) totally unsolicited by Counsel,
b) when the party in question is an awkward, gangly, deceased, Pakeha child sex offender,
c) who in all likelihood had absolutely no Maori victims,

Now really opens not a floodgate but an entire dam.

Speaking of which I have not missed the irony, it’s hard enough to get any infrastructure or property development work done in New Zealand as it is. This level of activism creates a new and complex hybrid of evolving, erratically moving, land and sea Taniwha .  One that they say all Pakeha cannot possibly understand but even if we do, it will mystically and magically evolve into rua, toru  and wha Taniwha.

All of which only has me conclude that while the grown up lawyers and politicians have been asleep at the wheel liberally pandering to accomodate these ridiculous piss-taking Maori activist interests, we are heading eventually for two legal systems.

Comments

  1. Ten minutes watching that ridiculous TV program the Deadlands is an excellent introduction as to what Maori justice might look like.
    Watch out for the announcement that John Hatfield a.k.a. Hone Harawira has been appointed as a legal advisor to The
    Supreme Court.
    His mother was appointed a Medical Advisor at Oakley Hospital Mental Health Unit in Auckland in the 1980s.

    ReplyDelete

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