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Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Off the rocker

The Sensible Sentencing Trust has become the Smash the Bill of Rights Trust:
The Sensible Sentencing Trust says offenders such as Pauesi Leofa Brown who killed Austin Hemmings should be subjected to preventive detention and lose all rights currently granted under the New Zealand Bill of Rights – including the right of appeal.
Just FYI, these are the rights the SBRT are talking about:
  • The right not to be arbitrarily arrested or detained.
  • The right to be informed at the time of the arrest or detention of the reason for it; and
  • the right to consult and instruct a lawyer without delay and to be informed of that right; and the right to have the validity of the arrest or detention determined without delay by way of habeas corpus and to be released if the arrest or detention is not lawful. 
  • The right to be charged promptly or to be released.
  • The right for charges to be brought as soon as possible before a court or competent tribunal.
  • The right to refrain from making any statement and to be informed of that right.
  • If deprived of liberty the right to be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the person.
  • The right to be informed promptly and in detail of the nature and cause of the charge; and
  • The right to be released on reasonable terms and conditions unless there is just cause for continued detention; and
  • The right to consult and instruct a lawyer; and
  • The right to adequate time and facilities to prepare a defence; and
  • The right, except in the case of an offence under military law tried before a military tribunal, to the benefit of a trial by jury when the penalty for the offence is or includes imprisonment for more than 3 months; and
  • The right to receive legal assistance without cost if the interests of justice so require and the person does not have sufficient means to provide for that assistance; and
  • The right to have the free assistance of an interpreter if the person cannot understand or speak the language used in court.
  • The right to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial court:
  • The right to be tried without undue delay:
  • The right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law:
  • The right not to be compelled to be a witness or to confess guilt:
  • The right to be present at the trial and to present a defence:
  • The right to examine the witnesses for the prosecution and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses for the defence under the same conditions as the prosecution:
  • The right, if convicted of an offence in respect of which the penalty has been varied between the commission of the offence and sentencing, to the benefit of the lesser penalty:
  • The right, if convicted of the offence, to appeal according to law to a higher court against the conviction or against the sentence or against both:
  • The right, in the case of a child, to be dealt with in a manner that takes account of the child's age.
  • The right not to be liable to conviction of any offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute an offence by such person under the law of New Zealand at the time it occurred.
  • The right, if finally acquitted or convicted of, or pardoned for, an offence shall not be tried or punished for it again.
  • The right to the observance of the principles of natural justice by any tribunal or other public authority which has the power to make a determination in respect of that person's rights, obligations, or interests protected or recognised by law.
  • The rights, obligations, or interests protected or recognised by law have been affected by a determination of any tribunal or other public authority has the right to apply, in accordance with law, for judicial review of that determination.
  • The right to bring civil proceedings against, and to defend civil proceedings brought by, the Crown, and to have those proceedings heard, according to law, in the same way as civil proceedings between individuals.
Now most of  these rights only apply when you break the law. However, they're rights important to all of us, not just criminals. Imagine if we were talking about someone the public believed to be innocent?