Monday, November 16, 2009

Law Commission of New Zealand Report on Suppressing Names of Victims and Accused

The Law Commission of New Zealand’s report on Suppressing Names and Evidence was tabled in Parliament today.

The report examines sections of the country's Criminal Justice Act 1985 that allow for exceptions to the open courts principle:
"In relation to our courts, it is important that the principles of open justice and freedom of expression are strongly protected by the law. But the law must also protect the administration of justice and the right to a fair trial."

"Striking the balance between these competing demands is not an easy task. The criteria governing decisions to suppress names or evidence must be sufficiently precise to ensure that the values of free speech and open justice are consistently given the emphasis required. But they also need to allow judges enough discretion to take account of the wide range of interests that might impinge on a decision: of victims, witnesses, the accused and the community."

"It has been a challenge to arrive at a set of recommendations that achieve this objective. Ultimately, our recommendations have been shaped by our clear view, supported by the majority of submitters, that suppression is currently granted inconsistently and sometimes too readily, and that the grounds for it need to be
clarified and tightened."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:59 pm

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