Tuesday, September 20, 2011

shutter shudder

Some powerful comments in the blogosphere about the governments plans to rush through retropective legislation to allow secret filming on private property. It is a scandal and against the principles of law, but these legal commentators can say it much better than me...

Morgan at Maui Street
If the Police were aware in the Urewera investigation, which occurred years ago, that they were employing illegal investigatory methods, yet continued to do so in the years following the completion of the Urewera investigation, then the Police must be held to account. The law should not be bent to accommodate law breakers (i.e. the Police), the law should be used against those who break it intentionally.
Andrew Geddis from Pundit
So what the Government really seems to want to do here is short-circuit the courts' role in deciding if the Police's unauthorised (and, according to the Supreme Court, unlawful) use of video and photo surveillance should be allowed to stand as evidence. Instead, it will require such evidence to be let in - irrespective of whether or not it was obtained unlawfully in breach of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (which it wasn't ... because Parliament will deem that it wasn't).
Dean Knight from Victoria Law School
Let’s recap now. As a consequence of the Supreme Court ruling, the police do not have any legal power to engage in covert video surveillance – but they knew that anyway. For investigations already undertaken, whether or not unlawfully obtained video evidence can be admitted in court depends on the context. For serious charges, it will probably still be admissible. For less serious charges, it will not be admissible. It might also turn on how significant or insignificant the degree of intrusion was and rogueness of police actions or attitudes.

Idiot/Savant from No Right Turn
In such circumstances, ramming through a bill under all-stages urgency to retrospectively validate deliberately unlawful behaviour by the Police is a gross assault on the rule of law. The police violated the law, and they should pay the price. If they didn't want to pay that price, then maybe they shouldn't have deliberately conducted unlawful surveillance in the first place. 
So there is an uproar - and the Green Party, Mana Party and The ori Party have all said they will not support it, ACT are wavering - Labour will support it with conditions like a select committee hearing apparently but the gnats are under pressure. They have 6 sitting days of parliment before the election so it must be passed under urgency. It is obvious that we cannot trust this government - they cannot even follow the recognised process of the law that they are supposed to govern under and the evidence by the respected legal minds that blogged above is testamony to that. This issue is not going to go away and reveals a terrible truth about the gnats - they will just do what they want. The Mana Party is the best vehicle IMO to effect change and put a stick in their heinous agenda.

Hat tip Maui St

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