QC backs SFO Director against attacks

September 25th, 2008 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

QC Jim Farmer has criticised and for their attacks on the Director of the Serious Fraud Office. Farmer is a past president of the Bar Association.

said criticism of Mr Liddell’s judgment by Prime Minister Helen Clark and her deputy, Michael Cullen, was wrong and unwarranted.

Mr Liddell’s evidence was uncovered in the investigation and showed that Mr Peters had a $40,000 debt paid for him by the Spencer Trust, contradicting his version that he paid it himself.

Dr Farmer said Mr Liddell had a simple choice: whether it was responsible to “sit on” relevant information, or to hand it over.

And Labour wanted the information supressed, because it reveals that Peters broke the Cabinet Manual and Register of Interests even more blatantly than in the Owen Glenn case.

“He has obviously taken a responsible decision. It is very defensible on its merits and it doesn’t warrant attack from politicians, particularly personal attacks in the form of saying he has poor judgment.”

Dr Farmer may not understand that for Clark and Cullen, a public servant exercises poor judgement if they do not act in the best interests of the Labour Party, as opposed to acting in the public interest. You see they have convinced themselves that nothing is more important for the public good than them remaining in power, so anything that may damage that is automatically poor judgement by the public servant involved.

Dr Farmer said there was no formal requirement for Mr Liddell to consult Crown Law and he had “no idea” why Helen Clark and Dr Cullen were suggesting this.

“In carrying out the investigative duties, the SFO and the director are intended to be independent and operate without influence from anyone,” he said.

“Running off to Crown Law or the Solicitor-General to get advice – or approval, if that’s what Dr Cullen is suggesting – doesn’t seem to be obvious or even right.”

Indeed. And in fact a growing number of Government Departments no longer even use Crown Law for their legal advice or representation in court.

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16 Responses to “QC backs SFO Director against attacks”

  1. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,668 comments) says:

    This really is devastating momentary from an impeccable source. Makes Cullen and Clark look like respective shadows of Mugabe and Imelda Marcos.

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  2. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    Indeed, DPF, why would Liddell go to Crown Law for advice when that department said that the EFA did not breach the Bill of Rights? Crown Law’s advice was conspicuous by its creativity and of course was written by none other than Val Sim, whose legal creativity was also significant in denying Peter Ellis a fair crack at justice.

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  3. poneke (280 comments) says:

    There’s a really interesting editorial in today’s Herald that I’m sure will be the subject of your next post.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10534006

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  4. Don the Kiwi (1,318 comments) says:

    Its not surprising that Komrade Hellen wanted them to refer to the crown law office – that’s become totally politicilesd, and so would the rest of the judiciary – Supreme court? – if they were to stay in office. Along with sensorship of the press, further curbs on free speach, and a North Korea/China style TV network.
    I wonder when Helen is goin to publish her own *Little Red Book – La Diva Clark’s Thoughts*??

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  5. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    Poneke, your blatant anti-National colours are showing. DPF has already criticised John key for not declaring that he owned shares in Tranzrail.

    What interests me is that in 1990, MP Anne Collins’ campaign fund mysteriously found itself with cash that didn’t pass through Labour Party HQ. Who the hell is Anne Collins? None other than Dr Michael Cullen’s wife. No doubt we’ll see you make a meal of that in your next post.

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  6. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    Give it a rest Poneke

    In the words of your Dearly Beloved Heavenly Leader Nothing to see here Move on The public are tired of the media banging on about yesterdays events

    More important is fatty Horomias jury tampering of the Maori party Cause thats what is was And it was done on the orders of Clark/Cullen

    Face it Your Socialists mates and NZ1 mates are Stuffed Dead Extinct Bereft of Life No longer Gone to the Politcial hell

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  7. Whaleoil (766 comments) says:

    Oh come on give Poneke a break, with all the buses on strike he has nothing to whine about.

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  8. calendar girl (1,108 comments) says:

    The criticism by James Farmer QC is measured, proportionate and appropriate. It emanates from a distinguished jurist whom we should be proud to have as New Zealand’s Chief Justice – if we were so fortunate. His comments here speak to certain principles of public administration that are fundamental in our kind of democracy:

    - proper legislative delegations of powers to state agencies;
    - observance of legislative and common law restrictions on intereference in formal public decision-making;
    - protection of the political independence of law-enforecement agencies; and
    - maintenance of a non-politicised public service.

    Mr Farmer, of course, is exactly the kind of respected, learned and articulate advocate that society needs to protect its constitutional standards and freedoms. He is also the kind of person who any aspiring despot would see as being inimical to his / her objectives. Can Mr Farmer now expect more than passing interest from the Labour Research Unit.

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  9. rightofleftcentre (75 comments) says:

    I think the current dictatorial style of leadership we are witnessing is unprecedented on NZ history (I’m no historian mind).

    History will of course judge them.

    For now, I and many others are gobsmacked as to how far from the principles of Westminster parliamentary behaviour this merry band have led us.

    I just hope that irreparable damage has not been done.

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  10. PinkGina (95 comments) says:

    Poneke I have no doubt that this election is John keys to lose and the next month will get very dirty in terms of campaigning.

    Dirt or otherwise people want a change

    Political interference as witnessed over the past week beaming into all households will override all. It is completely disrespectful to the public at large who have had enough

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  11. bobux (349 comments) says:

    Poneke

    I agree wholeheartedly with the Herald editorial. Key screwed up badly, and showed a worrying lack of openness.

    He still doesn’t approach the depth of cynicism and dishonesty that have become the trademarks of the current government.

    Given a choice between someone who has been less that frank about his share dealings, and someone who has repeatedly defended a Minister who lies to the public over and over again, I know what my choice will be.

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  12. rightofleftcentre (75 comments) says:

    The editorial is fair comment and comments fairly.
    The last paragraph is especially accurate:
    “It may be that Mr Key committed the slip of a front-runner in the electoral race. Like many a sportsman on the verge of success, he has become too cautious, risk-averse, afraid to take an unpopular position, quick to backtrack from any policy implication that may be contentious. He has choked. We can but hope that is all it was”

    It also makes the point that TVNZ was complicit in the trap, as a cleverly engineered setup itwas, designed to make Key look indecisive and prevaricating (which he came across as), and also that Labour timed the “stunt” to perfection.

    In real material terms it is a non-issue, but for some Key’s credibility is damaged.

    He needs to learn and learn fast.

    He’s still honest-John but it won’t take much more to remove that moniker.

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  13. freedom101 (439 comments) says:

    “Dr Farmer said there was no formal requirement for Mr Liddell to consult Crown Law and he had “no idea” why Helen Clark and Dr Cullen were suggesting this.”

    I’m sure Dr Farmer has every idea why Klark and Kullen suggested this, it’s just that he can’t afford to say it as it is. They suggested it as a deliberate and dishonest attempt to muddy the waters and to discredit Mr Liddell. Nothing more, nothing less. It is what we have come to expect from the most corrupt leadership team the country has ever seen.

    They will say anything and do anything and bring down anyone who gets in the way of their re-election. They have completely thrown out the window any pretence of principled leadership. Not only must Labour lose this election, it must be routed from office. Every voter has a duty to remove them totally and utterly as an example for future governments who even think about treading where this lot have trod.

    If they poll over 30% in this election then it will be a shocking indictment on NZ voters.

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  14. Peter C (40 comments) says:

    Oh Freedom 101, if only you were right (re the 30%). I veer between sadness and anger at how stupid a good proportion of my fellow Kiwis are. Thank God for the blogosphere and perhaps the fact that this lot have gone so far that more and more people are starting to wakeup.

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  15. PhilBest (5,112 comments) says:

    CalendarGirl:

    “…….Mr Farmer, of course, is exactly the kind of respected, learned and articulate advocate that society needs to protect its constitutional standards and freedoms. He is also the kind of person who any aspiring despot would see as being inimical to his / her objectives. Can Mr Farmer now expect more than passing interest from the Labour Research Unit…….”

    Love the euphemism, CalendarGirl: “the Labour Research Unit”…….HAHAHAHAHA…….

    Presumably Mr Farmer’s rubbish bins will be getting some attention from them…..

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  16. wreck1080 (3,522 comments) says:

    With all of these winnie allegations, and winnie appearing to show complete denial I think people are getting confused.

    We have a big mixing pot, including spencer trusts, SFO, owen glenn, vela, bob jones, serious fraud, priviledge committees, Helen Clark , Brian whats his face lawyer, Monaco consular jobs, and probably other things I missed. Facts and accusations are flying around all over the place and to really understand you need to sit down and study this carefully.

    Hell, I’m not sure what is going on anymore. I think Winnie probably lied along the way, but the lies are worse than the actual deeds to date.

    He still should go, as how can you trust anything he says in parliament knowing he is a liar? But, many people are confused as to what is going on I would think.

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