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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Law and order coincidence

On the same day the government announces a new police commissioner they also announce the Auckland Crown Solicitor is being promoted to the High Court and the office is being filled by someone from his law firm.

Both of these offices are crucial to the functioning of the NZ government's law and order policy.  They are expected to collaborate - as they did with the Urewera 'terrorist' show trial.  Both are also appointed by the government in secretive fashion from within a narrow clique.  Both are virtually unaccountable once their warrants are signed.  The institutions they lead are unaccountable.  Both are symptoms and causes of what in most other countries would be viewed as corruption.

The Commissioner of NZ Police has no board to report to, they - and it is always a he - only reports to the Minister of Police (even though it is the PM that actually appoints him and the deputy Commissioners).  The Commissioner has an executive group, but there is no governance entity - that is what the ploddingly inept Anne Tolley is supposed to do single-handedly as Minister. 

The Crown Solicitor at Auckland prosecutes the big cases including the politically sensitive cases of which there are more than you think.  The Attorney-General just appoints a mate and his law firm from what I understand.  And that is that.  The Crown Solicitor seems to be only accountable via their firm's invoicing.  Other jurisdictions have state prosecutors and services, in NZ we have an old boys club.

As for the out-going office-holders, they haven't done much to endear themselves to the cause of freedom and justice particularly, probably the opposite.  In the case of Commissioner Marshall it is more clear cut: he still vouches for the Roast Busters rape club and has allowed them to walk free with something akin to a personal guarantee of immunity because one of the gang members has a father who is a cop.  Simon Moore QC, now Justice Moore, commented on the Roast Busters case to say that he couldn't really be arsed prosecuting these sorts of rape cases and wouldn't be worth bothering to try in this instance.  Moore joins the substantial list of ex-Crown Solicitors who now sit on the High Court bench: Goddard, Pankhurst, Lang, Brewer, Toogood and Collins (former Solicitor-General).

As for Bush's outrageous eulogy comments praising the ethics and integrity of a cop - Hutton - whose planting of evidence in the Crewe murders to fit- up Arthur Alan Thomas has become a notorious incident and black mark that has forever tarnished the reputation and trust in the NZ Police... it seems  his 'on reflection' moment of contrition and regret is nothing more than a PR job.  This new stance - contrary to what he has said up until yesterday - was based solely on doing what is necessary to be appointed commissioner.  The fact is he has, until yesterday, excused and stood up for corrupt cops and corrupt practices.


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