web analytics

Finlayson criticises Law Society but gets it wrong

Written By: - Date published: 7:39 am, August 28th, 2015 - 38 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, democratic participation, national, Politics, same old national - Tags:

John Key and Chris Finlayson

So the Law Society raises concerns at the prospect of trials relying on suppressed evidence which may result in the incarceration of Kiwis and the Attorney General then chooses to attack it.

I posted on this earlier.  Basically a late change to the Health and Safety Reform Bill introduced after submissions had been considered introduced the possibility of trials where the defendant does not get to see all of the evidence.

The New Zealand Law Society has expressed its concern at what has occurred.  It released this statement:

The New Zealand Law Society has expressed its significant concerns at the last-minute addition to the Health and Safety Reform Bill of provisions for a closed material procedure for court proceedings where national security is involved.

The Law Society has written to the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety, saying the provisions should not have been inserted at this late stage of the legislative process.

The provisions will allow a person to be tried and convicted of a criminal offence without seeing all the information relied on by the Crown and without the right to be present (or to have their representative present) during all the proceedings. This is inconsistent with the fundamental right to a fair trial, the Law Society says.

“We recommend removal of the provisions from the Bill, to await the outcome of an inquiry the Law Commission is carrying out on National Security Information in Proceedings,” Law Society President Chris Moore says.

How did the Attorney General respond?  By insulting the Law Society.  He said this:

I saw some article in the Dominion Post that suggested I was some sort of crypto-fascist behind this particular secret court. But it was nothing of the sort.

“It was a [Supplementary Order Paper] that was introduced to deal with the circumstances in which you would deal with a hearing behind closed doors. Where did the [Law Society]  go wrong? Well, probably, what they did is that they didn’t really understand the legislative history and hadn’t picked up on the most recent SOP.”

He also released this more formal press statement where he petulantly claimed that the Law Society’s press release had been released seven days after SOP 108 has been introduced.  He should check his maths as it was actually released six days (25-19) after.

He was referring to SOP 108 which was introduced on August 19.  The letter from the Law Society was sent on August 21.  The failure to pick up on the further changes is in my view completely understandable.  The need to get committee agreement to the letter meant there was always going to be a lag between writing the letter and sending it.  And not anticipating that a late amendment will itself be subject to further significant changes is hardly a hanging offence.

The Law Society has chosen to release the letter publicly.  Finlayson should be afraid.  The Law Society is by far the strongest Trade Union in the country.  You insult the society at your peril.

And Finlayson’s criticism is, how do I say this, misplaced.  The Society’s criticism as to process is reinforced by what has happened here.  A bill has been introduced, a change is made AFTER submissions have been heard that affect human rights, and then further amendments to the amendments are introduced.  All without proper public scrutiny.  The bill was reported back on July 24, 2015 and the further SOP tabled on August 19, 2015.

And the main concern the Law Society has, that individuals may be tried and convicted on the basis of evidence they have not seen, remains.  The language of the SOP is very obtuse and it is not easy to immediately understand how it will be applied but it still allows for someone to be convicted on the basis of evidence that he or she has not seen.  And the explanatory note to the SOP describes the changes in this way:

[A]mendments to Schedule 2A, which contains provisions relating to classified security information used in proceedings in relation to the Health and Safety at Work Bill. The amendments limit the application of the schedule to proceedings in which all parties have access to the classified security information or the defendant seeks to produce or refer to classified security information“.

The provision is now more restrictive.  But there remains the power for appointment of a Special Advocate so clearly the provision anticipates a defendant not being aware of all evidence that may be led against them.

The Law Society’s concerns remain valid.  And Finlayson’s petulant criticism because the Law Society was not aware there were late changes to late changes to the bill is unwarranted.

38 comments on “Finlayson criticises Law Society but gets it wrong ”

  1. vto 1

    Finlayson continues to show his self-appointment as a QC is entirely appropriate ………. he is like a energizer battery at it – just keeps on keeping on

    as has been pointed out since said self-appointment

    • dukeofurl 1.1

      The energizer bunny ?

      Are you sure you want to go there?

      As for the very late introduction of contentious amendments, and then quickly changing them…… seems to remind me of ‘confusion marketing’, the well known corporate technique of bamboozling its customers for gain.

  2. les 2

    at least he hasn’t started calling them ‘clowns’,a favourite term of his for people who dont see things his way.Clearly another minister,one of many who is really mindful of the P.M’s warnings about govt arrogance!

  3. Adrian 3

    I had dealings with Finlayson when he was a simple ( strong emphasis there ) lawyer, he was bloody hopeless and appeared to know SFA about the law even then.
    Not that tht seems to be much of an impediment to most lawyers.

    • dukeofurl 3.1

      Lawyers very rarely know the law. At best they can specialise in a small corner, stick to it and over time understand the precedents.
      However what most do well is understand the process

      • Matt707 3.1.1

        And this applies to the Law Society too judging by their past defense and protection of their own kind.

      • North 3.1.2

        Ummmh…….nought wrong with understanding the process (whatever the season).

        I know a criminal lawyer of ‘near-super’ age (totally legal aid) whose 39th come February 40th year of practice allows him vivid recall confirming the essential that the criminal justice system is as much about keeping the ‘rabble’ under control (for the benefit of the ‘non-rabble’), than it is about public safety or the broadest of ‘Justice’.

        He does though reckon that his role is to interpret the fulla/woman/kid to the court and to interpret the court to the fulla/woman/kid. Default on that (given there’s gonna be a ‘communication’ of a sort anyway)…… well there’s heaps more fullas/women/kids completely in the dark about their own lives. Never knowing the ‘whys’ and the ‘wherefores’. Imagine that. That is true and cruel powerlessness.

        Depending on the lawyer’s ‘pono’, coupled with sometimes (hopefully contollled) angry mouthiness in him/her, there is the potential for some good stuff to happen and it does. Doesn’t mean the lawyer’s gonna stroke him/herself ‘Christopher Finlayson QC – ruddy complexioned, Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey’ like.

        There’re lots of lawyers like that……I mean, not like the caraciturish ‘Chris’ (Chief Justice of 7 sovereign states by age fourteen AND Wanganui Collegiate AND Scots’ AND Christ’s AND Kings’ can you believe it ?)

        Who on legal aid rates are never gonna be the millionaires people satisfy themselves they are. Lower middle class at very best. Most flapping around some pegs lower saved only by partners (in life not law) who are earning moderate bucks as nurses or teachers or something.

        Cool thing is most of those sorts don’t entertain a wit of Key’s shit-arse “asprayshuns”. If anything they despise the Establishment pedalled lie of “Equality Under The Law”. They sally forth into the ‘system’ doing their best (which is often very, very up-there in technical terms), with good hearts.

        I know that’s not the conventional ‘wisdom’ (how cheaply I use that last word) but it’s truer than the facile mindset which delivers ‘feel acquittedly-righteous for purported slaying of rarely present dragons’. That incandescent nonsense which ‘sooths’ so many. Promulgated by six letters which when correctly ordered read “lawyer”. Can you imagine all the momentary upliftedness completely lost if they were configured to give ‘rawyel’ or ‘layrew’ or ‘ewlray’ ? Bugger ! Stick with “lawyer”. It’s you I’m talkin’ to TC above or below.

    • tc 3.2

      That’s where many lawyers who can’t practice law end up, politics where they get to hone their skills at plausible deniability.

      They also litter upper levels of SOE’s and govt departments like that incredibly dim bulb Peter Fenton who I last saw under another lawyer at MFAT, John Allen.

  4. Tanz 4

    What, secret courts? How scary is that? Star Chamber has arrived. This govt really really knows no bounds. Arrogance per say. The look on their faces says it all. What I don’t get is Key’s continued popularity, no matter what. Go figure.

    • save NZ 4.1

      People hate Key. Anyone who voices it, gets fired:)

    • Anno1701 4.2

      The Star Chamber wasn’t necessarily secret

      It was set up to prosecute influential/powerful/wealthy people that the ordinary courts may be scared/intimidated of convicting because of there high status

  5. North 5

    Expect in vain anything better of Finlayson…..the foulest caraciture of the snotty lawyer fellow……faux gravitas masking a risible reflex to clutch the pearls whenever his self-
    perceived excellence and the vaunted omnipresence of The Right is questioned. A dog of a person in other words.

    • whateva next? 5.1

      perfectly put, thankyou.

      • Anne 5.1.1

        Yes. It is rarely necessary to vent out spleen too much on this site because North does it so beautifully for us. 😎

        • North 5.1.1.1

          Anne…..it’s only your use of the emoticon of the smiley chap with the shades equips me to bat off the prospect of an insult there…….’venting the spleen’ is all rather savage and unnecessary according to my Presbyterianism. I do try to curb it.

          That said you do know I’m a keen student and devotee of The Master The Morrissey of Northcote Point ? If only like him I could work out that excellent ‘bold’.

          • Anne 5.1.1.1.1

            Far from an insult North. It’s a compliment. It is a pleasure to read someone who can so vividly and accurately express the character of a given person.

            Apologies if my intentions ended up appearing the opposite…

            I enjoy Morrissey too. A spot of exaggeration (now and then) is good for the soul – and great for a good story.

  6. Tautoko Mangō Mata 6

    It seems that the Supplementary Order Papers for the Health and Safety Reform Bill are not available on the Parliamentary website. I tried to get them yesterday and today.
    I am concerned after reading these tweets from Felix Geiringer. https://twitter.com/barristernz

    While on the topic of last minute inclusions in H&S legislation, has notice it includes changes to genetic modified organism regulation?

    Why does the Government need to broaden its powers, for instance, to declare GMO’s exempt from regulation as part of H&S reform?

    By SOP, the Govt has decided to completed replace the regulatory powers in HSNO, and not just those relating to hazardous substances.

    Seriously, can anyone explain why health and safety reform requires new powers to exempt genetically modified organisms from regulation?

    • save NZ 6.1

      @ Tautoko +1
      Scary stuff.

    • I think both the secret trials and the exemptions for GMO’s are in anticipation of this event;
      Little Shop of Horrors pic

    • jenny kirk 6.3

      Tautoko MM – this somehow connects to the Govt putting into its proposal for a National Environment Standard on Plantation Forestry a last-minute clause (6.4) which expecifically includes a provision permitting forest to use genetically modified tree stock – and over-rides local council restrictions on the release of GMOs.

      I agree – SaveNZ – this is really scarey.

      The Govt is determined to allow genetically modified tree stock into the forests throughout NZ – and not just pine forests, it could also occur with native trees and other plants.

  7. Charles 7

    When their malice is obstructed, they become stupid.

  8. North 8

    That’s a beauty Charles – “When their malice is obstructed…..”

  9. save NZ 9

    Ah, just idle chit chat. And not the first time urgent human rights and individual liberty has been breached. Law Society show some teeth!

    As the phrase goes “Government contempt too overwhelming to ignore” and now targeting the Law Society…

    Security Intelligence Service (SIS) Minister Chris Finlayson has apologised for dismissing Parliament’s select committee process as “chit chat”.
    Mr Finlayson says as soon as he said it he knew it was “uncharacteristically flippant”.
    “It’s certainly not chit chat and I apologise,” he says.
    The apology followed comments he made about public submissions on the controversial Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill.
    “The interview was at 10 past six and I’d just awoken from my slumbers,” says Mr Finlayson.
    The legislation would allow the SIS to conduct surveillance on private properties without a warrant for up to 48 hours.
    It would also allow the Minister of Internal Affairs to temporarily suspend or cancel passports as part of the Government’s response to stopping New Zealanders from joining radical militant groups like Islamic State.
    The rushing of the bill came with a warning from former Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer.

    “Some of the provisions in the bill substantially interfere with, and reduce human rights and individual liberty,” he says.

  10. John 10

    This is the same Finlayson who to date has failed to investigate the solicitor general Heron for failing to investigate a crown solicitor who stated to a high court and a employment court that he had disclosed 150 documents to the defence and maintained this stance for the last 6 years, only to have the police admit in November 2014 that the documents have never existed. This is the same Finlayson who made many public statements about the crown prosecutor who failed to disclose on documents for the john Banks saga but is happily covering up for corrupt crown law.

  11. adam 11

    Wow, Finlayson reached for the Godwin card, before anyone had played it. Is he worried about something?

    • tc 11.1

      Nigel no mates has plenty to worry about as one of the heavy lifters in keys wrecking crew.

      His legacy will follow him around long after he’s lost his access to the beehive esepcially the way he craps all over his own profession.

  12. Tanz 12

    Has anyone noticed, in the background, the poster for Gaylene Preston’s debut feature film, Mr Wrong? (can see part of, only)..just a bit of useless info…)…

  13. Enough 13

    “Crypto” Fascist? There’s nothing hidden or secret about that descriptor when applied to Finlayson, whose irascibility makes even Groser’s intemperance pale.
    In long-gone schooldays, as part of a large, peripatetic family and in consequence a recurrent new-boy, self-preservation demanded I became adept at quickly assessing my new classmates characters. Physiognomy proved a useful tool in the process. The current National Cabinet cabal are proof positive of the effectiveness of that ancient art. But who is Bully, which one Creepy, Bessie, Bunter, Sneaky, Shifty, Sniveller, Teachers’ Pet or the Wee Fragile Fellow? Ad hominem? Yes. Ashamed? No.

  14. Gordon 14

    Free,hand of the market guided by a defunct lawyer and money trader.Bill of rights etc. Roll on magna Carta.

  15. Gordon 15

    Another example of arrogance from someone that should know better but commensurate with the sayings of a defunct lawyer and defunct money trader. Not exactly the top of their professions.

  16. Trevor Mills 16

    Another typical act of incompetent blatancy and denial along with blaming everyone else at being wrong. What more can we expect from a political pack of corrupt liars with no decorum or respect for themselves, let alone anyone else.
    Palma non sine pulvere.

  17. sirpat 17

    so the question gotta be……………..wtf is one to do about it???????

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Equitable response to Omicron vital
    The Green Party supports the Government’s decision to move Aotearoa New Zealand to traffic light level Red at 11.59pm tonight, but says its success will depend on the support that is made available to the most vulnerable. ...
    7 hours ago
  • How we’re preparing for Omicron
    As countries around the world experience Omicron outbreaks, we’re taking steps now to ensure we’re as prepared as possible and our communities are protected. ...
    3 days ago
  • What’s Labour achieved so far?
    Quite a bit! This Government was elected to take on the toughest issues facing Aotearoa – and that’s what we’re doing. Since the start of the pandemic, protecting lives and livelihoods has been a priority, but we’ve also made progress on long-term challenges, to deliver a future the next generation ...
    1 week ago
  • Tackling the big issues in 2022
    This year, keeping Kiwis safe from COVID will remain a key priority of the Government – but we’re also pushing ahead on some of New Zealand’s biggest long-term challenges. In 2022, we’re working to get more Kiwis into homes, reduce emissions, lift children out of poverty, and ensure people get ...
    2 weeks ago

  • New Zealand to move to Red from 11.59pm today
    All of New Zealand will move to the Red setting of the Covid Protection Framework (CPF) at 11:59pm today as Omicron is potentially now transmitting in the community, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says. “Nine COVID-19 cases reported yesterday in the Nelson/Marlborough region are now confirmed as Omicron, and a further ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Mandatory boosters for key workforces progressing well
    More than 5,785 (82%) border workers eligible for a booster vaccination at 6 months have received it so far, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. “That’s a really strong uptake considering we announced the requirement the week before Christmas, but we need to continue this momentum,” Chris Hipkins said. “We ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • NZ to move to Red
    Nine COVID-19 cases reported yesterday in the Nelson/Marlborough region have now been confirmed as the Omicron variant, and a further case from the same household was confirmed late yesterday. These cases are in a single family that flew to Auckland on 13 January to attend a wedding and other events ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • New Zealand to provide further help for Tonga
    Aotearoa New Zealand is giving an additional $2 million in humanitarian funding for Tonga as the country recovers from a volcanic eruption and tsunami last weekend, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare said today. This brings Aotearoa New Zealand’s contribution to $3 million. “This support will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Quarterly benefit numbers show highest number of exits into work
    The Government’s strong focus on supporting more people into work is reflected in benefit figures released today which show a year-on-year fall of around 21,300 people receiving a main benefit in the December 2021 quarter, Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni said. “Our response to COVID has helped ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Northland to move to Orange, NZ prepared for Omicron 
    Northland to move to Orange Rest of New Zealand stays at Orange in preparedness for Omicron All of New Zealand to move into Red in the event of Omicron community outbreak – no use of lockdowns Govt planning well advanced – new case management, close contact definition and testing rules ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • RNZAF C-130 Hercules flight departs for Tonga as Navy vessels draw nearer to Tongatapu
    A Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules has departed Base Auckland Whenuapai for Tonga carrying aid supplies, as the New Zealand aid effort ramps up, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare said today. “The aircraft is carrying humanitarian aid and disaster relief supplies, including water ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand prepared to send support to Tonga
    New Zealand is ready to assist Tonga in its recovery from Saturday night’s undersea eruption and tsunami, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare said today. “Following the successful surveillance and reconnaissance flight of a New Zealand P-3K2 Orion on Monday, imagery and details have been sent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Aotearoa New Zealand stands ready to assist people of Tonga
    The thoughts of New Zealanders are with the people of Tonga following yesterday’s undersea volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami waves, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta says. “Damage assessments are under way and New Zealand has formally offered to provide assistance to Tonga,” said Nanaia Mahuta. New Zealand has made an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Record high of new homes consented continues
    In the year ended November 2021, 48,522 new homes were consented, up 26 per cent from the November 2020 year. In November 2021, 4,688 new dwellings were consented. Auckland’s new homes consented numbers rose 25 per cent in the last year. Annual figures for the last nine months show more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Report trumpets scope for ice cream exports
    Latest research into our premium ice cream industry suggests exporters could find new buyers in valuable overseas markets as consumers increasingly look for tip top quality in food. Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash has released a new report for the Food and Beverage Information Project. The project is run by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Honouring the legacy of legendary kaumātua Muriwai Ihakara
    Associate Minister for Arts, Culture, and Heritage Kiri Allan expressed her great sadness and deepest condolences at the passing of esteemed kaumātua, Muriwai Ihakara. “Muriwai’s passing is not only a loss for the wider creative sector but for all of Aotearoa New Zealand. The country has lost a much beloved ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Have your say on proposed changes to make drinking water safer
    Associate Minister for the Environment Kiri Allan is urging all New Zealanders to give feedback on proposed changes aimed at making drinking water safer. “The current regulations are not fit for purpose and don’t offer enough protection, particularly for those whose water comes from smaller supplies,” Kiri Allan said. “This ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Planting the seeds for rewarding careers
    A boost in funding for a number of Jobs for Nature initiatives across Canterbury will provide sustainable employment opportunities for more than 70 people, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “The six projects are diverse, ranging from establishing coastline trapping in Kaikōura, to setting up a native plant nursery, restoration planting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand congratulates Tonga's new Prime Minister on appointment
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta today congratulated Hon Hu'akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni on being appointed Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Tonga. “Aotearoa New Zealand and Tonga have an enduring bond and the Kingdom is one of our closest neighbours in the Pacific. We look forward to working with Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • High-tech investment extends drought forecasting for farmers and growers
    The Government is investing in the development of a new forecasting tool that makes full use of innovative climate modelling to help farmers and growers prepare for dry conditions, Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said.  The new approach, which will cost $200,000 and is being jointly funded through the Ministry for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Support for fire-hit Waiharara community
    The government will contribute $20,000 towards a Mayoral Relief Fund to support those most affected by the fires in Waiharara in the Far North, Minister for Emergency Management Kiri Allan says. “I have spoken to Far North Mayor John Carter about the effect the fires continue to have, on residents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Manawatū’s ‘oases of nature’ receive conservation boost
    The Government is throwing its support behind projects aimed at restoring a cluster of eco-islands and habitats in the Manawatū which were once home to kiwi and whio. “The projects, which stretch from the Ruahine Ranges to the Horowhenua coastline, will build on conservation efforts already underway and contribute ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand to continue Solomon Islands support
    A New Zealand Defence Force and Police deployment to help restore peace and stability to Solomon Islands is being scaled down and extended. The initial deployment followed a request for support from Solomon Islands Government after riots and looting in capital Honiara late last month. They joined personnel from Australia, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago