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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Institutionalizing the miscarriage of cheap justice - welcome to the Kumara Republic

Legal aid changes on the way - Power
Legal aid changes are just around the corner, Justice Minister Simon Power signalled today.

Opening a "Costs of Crime" forum in Wellington, Mr Power spoke about how the Government was tackling rising costs in the justice sector, noting in particular the weighty cost of legal aid processes.

The Legal Services Bill, which addresses administrative and quality issues within the legal aid system, was one step the Government was taking to reform the service, Mr Power said.

What is happening is all part of Simon Power's 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 independent legal aid now that it has been swallowed whole 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. This represents the largest attack on civil rights in our history and 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 crime set to soar from the social deprivation a deep recession causes coupled with the raw meat hard on crime crap, the Governments streamlining of Court procedure removes justice from the equation to replace it with the kind of brutal dehumanizing efficiency required in abattoirs.

These erosion 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 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 while at the same time he wouldn't get to select his legal representation. Effectively he would be forced to take some clown from the Public Defense service while the asset he had spent an entire life building up would be on the block alongside him.

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.

Welcome to the Kumara Republic.


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