The silent erosion of your legal rights
Law change stops lawyers' big payouts from public purse
Radical changes to the legal aid system will put an end to defence lawyers being paid up to $900,000 a year from the public purse.
What is happening is all part of Simon Powers conveyor belt of cheap justice, these abuses on legal aid by robbing citizens of their right to choose who represents them alongside the total lack of independence legal aid now has (as it has been swallowed up by the Government) are part of a wider erosion of our civil rights that include no jury trials and tv screen trials which lead to Jury desensitization.
Add to this the new powers the State wish to take with the search and surveillance laws, and we have the seeds of a Police state.
This represents the largest attack on civil rights in our history, as a member of society and as a member of the Auckland Council of Civil liberties, I am deeply concerned about these issues.
The Government argue that these changes are necessary for quick justice and point to Margaret Bazley's ridiculous report as justification, 2 things here
1: If it is about speed of process, then the Government should build more court rooms, not erode the rights of citizens!
2: Margaret Bazley (whom I admit I have a lot of respect for) produced a report that has not one shred of actual evidence to back up her claims of legal aid rorts, it was all gossip and rumour, surely only Scott Watson can be convicted on evidence as circumstantial as this?
The basic conclusion is that with the private prison companies moving into NZ and with crime set to soar from the social deprivation a deep recession causes, the sensible sentencing hard on crime crap has won the day and reason has been defeated.
These erosions of jury trials and not facing your jury are a legal conveyor belt focused on speed rather than justice.
By denying people the right to select their lawyer from legal aid we erode their quality of justice, and let's not forget people have to pay legal aid back - this is money you are paying for a legal service yet you no longer get the right to select your lawyer?
No one wants to use the Public Defense service (it was in their affidavit at the high court), so the Government are forcing people to use them. The case that boiled this announcement over was the case of a Tongan man who has taken the Government to Court for a breach of his bill of rights after they informed him the legal aid he required would mean a caveat over his house plus some he wouldn't get to select his legal representation, he would be forced to take some clown from the Public Defense service.
Think about that - you require legal aid, you are told it will mean a caveat is placed on your house oh and they will select the cheapest Public Defender they can track down from a service that doesn't receive any current confidence from citizens.
Only rich people have the audacity to force poor people to accept such limited legal protections. We do everything casual in NZ, including our fascism.