Respects to Power
Judges may get inquisitor role in sex-crime cases
Justice Minister Simon Power has asked the Law Commission to investigate introducing a European-style inquisitorial justice system in sexual offending cases. Despite the outcry following the David Bain trial, Mr Power said he had no intention of overhauling the adversarial-style system used here where the role of the judge is essentially that of an impartial referee. But he said the inquisitorial system, where the judge is involved in collecting and determining the facts of the case, could have its uses in victim-intensive situations such as sexual offending and child abuse.
Now while I am no great fan of Simon Power’s, let’s see, he has played up Prison being a 3 star hotel and adult Disneyland to the media induced crime frightened NZers more than any other politician and must share a large chunk of the responsibility for creating the shrill public discourse that calls only for the lynchmob AND he tried to have Tumeke shut down. That said, it’s good to see him being open to wanting changes within the system that he can clearly see are lacking. Would we accept an inquisitorial style for sex crimes and an adversarial style for everything else?