Judges like bright colours

April 21st, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The HoS reports:

The Herald on Sunday has obtained emails from the investigating officer in the case, Constable Paul Sharples, sent to witnesses working for NZTC. We showed the emails to Auckland district commander Mike Clement and he confirmed a review of the case was under way.

In an email from Sharples dated October 11, 2011, to an NZTC staff witness, he explains how his brief would be presented: “I will get this laminated on A3. Judges are like , they like bright colours.”

Personally if I was a Judge I’d be amused, not offended. I’m sure after wading through thousands of pages of documents, a Judge does appreciate a nice colourful A3 statement!

The reference to being like children is in the context of the case being forged qualifications for a childcare worker, so it probably seemed a witty analogy.

Tags: , ,

20 Responses to “Judges like bright colours”

  1. Nostalgia-NZ (5,025 comments) says:

    I think the major issue was the cop’s ‘oversight’ in offering the witnesses the opportunity to read other witnesses briefs, or as referred to in some quarters as getting their ‘stories straight.’ But the HOS would of course miss the point.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. kowtow (7,909 comments) says:

    Our politicians are like children too,they also like bright colours.

    Williamson and his gay rainbow come to mind.Wall’s and Turei’s clownish oputfits that night too.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. tristanb (1,133 comments) says:

    Why should anyone apologise for insulting a NZ judge? Saying they like bright colours is perhaps one of the kindest things that could be said.

    Very few NZers respect our judiciary. They have a long history of ignoring common sense, and are politically biased in terms of their views on sentencing. They seem to care more about ensuring the criminal has a good ride, than punishing them for their crimes.

    I hope that every judge who has let some criminal off on a short sentence, only for them to later cruelly assault, harm or kill someone, has sleepless nights over their decisions. The blood of Christie Marceau is on that judge’s hands, the same with all the blood of all the other people who have been let down by the misplaced desire to get criminals integrated into the community.

    Sadly, the judges don’t care. They carry on arrogantly ignoring the views of the public, the victims merely collateral damage, while they work towards their restorative justice utopia.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. MT_Tinman (3,043 comments) says:

    Mr Sharples sounds like he knows his target audience.

    Well done that man.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. peterwn (3,204 comments) says:

    A Royal Air Force station was due for an inspection. Sio the senior officers prepared brightly coloured ‘gen charts’ with graphs of aircraft up time, hours flown, maintenance, etc. The inspectors were duly dazzled and went away and wrote a glowing report.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. F E Smith (3,314 comments) says:

    are politically biased in terms of their views on sentencing.

    That is absolute rubbish (as is the rest of it, but that is the worst).  Tristanb, I would hope for better from you.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. tristanb (1,133 comments) says:

    That is absolute rubbish (as is the rest of it, but that is the worst). Tristanb, I would hope for better from you.

    I may have used a little bit of hyperbole and artistic licence (I’m sure I’ve said much worse in the past!) But the fact is judges are meant to be servants of the public, and they clearly do not represent us.

    We are barraged daily with stories of ridiculously lenient sentences. And the thing that gets me, is that judges get annoyed when people have their own opinions about the decisions, and breaching court decisions (e.g. name suppression) is punished more severely.

    If they want a better public image, they need to serve the needs of the public better. Comments like mine, albeit potentially counterproductive in an exaggerated form, help raise public awareness.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. F E Smith (3,314 comments) says:

    the fact is judges are meant to be servants of the public

    No, they are not.  They are representatives of the Sovereign, sitting in Her place to dispense justice in Her name.  While they pay attention to society and the prevailing views, they are not there to implement its wishes, but to do what is right according to the laws set in place by the Sovereign and Her Parliament.  The last thing that should be implemented is the sort of mob rule that many people seem to want.

    judges get annoyed when people have their own opinions about the decisions

    No, they really don’t.

    and breaching court decisions (e.g. name suppression) is punished more severely.

    Yes, because a) Parliament made it an offence and b) it is a Contempt of the Court, which is also a wrong.  

    If they want a better public image,

    To be honest, I don’t think that actually concerns them too much.  They are in a position where they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.  Anyway, none of the judges that I know seem too concerned about their public image. 

    Comments like mine, albeit potentially counterproductive in an exaggerated form, help raise public awareness.

    About what?  That you don’t like judges?

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. David Garrett (6,708 comments) says:

    FES: Sorry old boy…I generally find what you say to be fairly sensible, even if I disagree with particular comments…but Judges as “representatives of the Sovereign”, in New Zealand, in 2013? While you are of course technically correct – criminal cases always being cited as “R v. X” and all that, in practical terms Judges can and should ONLY be the surrogate umpires of us all… put in their places as part of the social contract which denies us the right to take the law into our own hands when we or our loved ones have been wronged…much as I personally admire Her Britannic Majesty, you wont get far with that argument…

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. tristanb (1,133 comments) says:

    About what? That you don’t like judges?

    While widespread awareness of the my opinion on the internet is important, I think more important is that the public realises that they are not “uneducated” or “ignorant” for disagreeing with a sentence. The more people realise this, the more our politicians will. Maybe one day political pressure will change things.

    What I’d like:
    – the government to stop making more and more things illegal.
    – increased sentences for those who harm others.

    Yes, because a) Parliament made it an offence and b) it is a Contempt of the Court, which is also a wrong.

    It is not morally wrong – just another law made to make something that doesn’t cause harm illegal.

    To be honest, I don’t think that actually concerns them too much.

    I don’t think it does either – but it should.

    (I doubt you’re worried, but it wasn’t me who modded you down BTW, I modded you up because all of what you say is true!)

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. F E Smith (3,314 comments) says:

    David G,

    Every one and anyone is more than entitled to disagree with me, I certainly don’t have a monopoly on truth! 

    criminal cases always being cited as “R v. X”

    Actually, that is the prosecution also representing the Crown, who has the ultimate interest in upholding the Queen’s peace, so takes indictable cases on our behalf as being offences against her.  Summary cases, of course, are listed as being between the Police v X, because they are essentially private prosecutions brought by a government department.  

    Of course, you will have sat in the High Court at the beginning of a days play and heard the usher say “all stand for the Queen’s judge”, but I understand what you are saying.  It is the problem that we don’t actually live in a democracy, but rather in a constitutional monarchy, so although the institutions might be similar, the actual reasons behind them are slightly different.

    But, putting that to one side as it really is more semantics than any real difference, my point is that judges are not their to impose a sort of crowd-sourced judgment on a person or party.  The judge is there to see that justice is done, and justice and the opinion of the mob are two different things.  One of my favourite examples of that is ancient Athens, where direct democracy (at least of male citizens) had just that sort of situation that could and did lead to injustices based upon the will of the mob.

    When we begin to argue that the judges represent us, the people, then we run into a number of issues that shouldn’t be a part of the equation, like making the judiciary more representative of the population in termsn of ethnic/gender/age.  The UK is in just this situation at the moment, which leads to calls for people of the right enthic group or gender to be promoted to the bench not because of their ability but because of their ethnicity or gender.   That is fine if you support it, but I don’t; I want the best person for the job to get it.

    So when the argument is made that judges should represent us, I must disagree.  They don’t.  They are there to be impartial umpires, acting according to the law, to see that justice is done according to that law.  Sometimes that means that they must make unpopular decisions simply because it is the right thing to do.  The public, and, unfortunately, groups like the SST, don’t seem to understand that.  Judges must have no fear of retribution for the decisions (as I said the other day, that point goes back centuries).  We shouldn’t desire to return to the days when a judge could be sacked by the monarch (or the people) for making a correct but unpopular decision.  In those days, judges paid real attention to the desires of the monarch, and often cases were decided not by what was right but by which decision would keep them their jobs.  

    So I want impartial umpires that are willing to stand up to the mob and say what is right, even when it is unpopular.  If a sentence is too low then the Prosecution can appeal it.  The fact that so few ‘low ‘sentences are actually appealed either suggests that it is in fact the Prosecutors who are out of touch, or else the public is being susceptible to a media that never reports the full facts.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. F E Smith (3,314 comments) says:

    I think more important is that the public realises that they are not “uneducated” or “ignorant” for disagreeing with a sentence.

    I agree.  It is important that everybody feels able to have an opinion.  It is hopeful that they will base their opinion on a full understanding of whatever case the opinion is about.  Unfortunately, if they take their information from the media I can guarantee you that they haven’t got a full understanding, or even a partial understanding.  

    What I’d like:
    – the government to stop making more and more things illegal.
    – increased sentences for those who harm others.

    I agree with both of those points.

    It is not morally wrong – just another law made to make something that doesn’t cause harm illegal.

    I disagree.  Name suppression is there for a reason, and I think it is a good one.  But you are perfectly entitled to disagree with me!

    it wasn’t me who modded you down BTW, I modded you up because all of what you say is true!)

    Cheers, I didn’t think that you did!  Nor did I mod you down!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. F E Smith (3,314 comments) says:

    And now I must leave you, gentles all, because my wife is demanding that I accompany her to a bbq at a friends house that we are supposed to attend. Apparently being on KB doesn’t qualify as being as important…

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. GPT1 (2,103 comments) says:

    The issue here is why witnesses are being shown other evidence (as distinct from being asked further questions, the answers which are disclosed and may form part of their brief). It may be something as simple as a flow chart from various sources which will form an exhibit which (FES may have a different view) I don’t have a particular problem.

    In terms of the comment re Judges perhaps not the ideal way of putting it but the point should be part of police training. Anything that can guide the fact finders (and for that matter lawyers) through the evidence in a clear way should be encouraged. The investigating police have lived an investigation for months – the court looks at it over a few days.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. OneTrack (2,782 comments) says:

    “If they want a better public image,

    To be honest, I don’t think that actually concerns them too much.  They are in a position where they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.  Anyway, none of the judges that I know seem too concerned about their public image. ”

    Of course they aren’t concerned. They can continue to live in their ivory towers, getting paid a shed load of money without, it appears, any need for common sense. Who cares what the proletariat think. Like them eat cake. Is that more how it is FESmith? Because it bloody well looks like it from where I sit.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Nostalgia-NZ (5,025 comments) says:

    ‘The issue here is why witnesses are being shown other evidence (as distinct from being asked further questions, the answers which are disclosed and may form part of their brief). It may be something as simple as a flow chart from various sources which will form an exhibit which (FES may have a different view) I don’t have a particular problem.’

    Because it’s a rehearsal of witnesses yet to be subjected to cross examination and is therefore an opportunity to ‘fill the gaps.’ It effectively could render direct evidence to hearsay without the Court being aware. Any brief is intended to be fleshed out in the witnesses own words, what one witness has said in his or her statement or brief would run the risk, intentionally or unintentionally, of ‘building’ on their own evidence from what they have ‘learnt’ from reading the briefs of other witnesses. If it became known to the defence or the Court it could easily be grounds for aborting a trial, possibly disqualifying the witnesses from giving evidence in a retrial. There are a lot of serious problems with it. The line about ‘bright colours’ is throwaway and insignificant, ‘comparing’ evidence strikes a blow for injustice. It’s very good that this has been investigated, pity the reporter was mesmerised by the triviality of ‘colour.’

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. F E Smith (3,314 comments) says:

     Onetrack,

    They can continue to live in their ivory towers, getting paid a shed load of money without, it appears, any need for common sense. Who cares what the proletariat think. Like them eat cake. Is that more how it is FESmith?

    No, that isn’t how it is, but I doubt you would be open to any argument otherwise, so I won’t bother.

     GPT & Nostalgia

    The issue here is why witnesses are being shown other evidence (as distinct from being asked further questions, the answers which are disclosed and may form part of their brief). It may be something as simple as a flow chart from various sources which will form an exhibit which (FES may have a different view) I don’t have a particular problem.

    No, I don’t have much issue with it at all.  By the time witnesses are being shown charts by an OC their briefs are done and the defence have had access to them.  The statements of non-police witnesses are also given to the defence, so any collusion either has to take place prior to that time (which does happen) or otherwise the questions that need to be asked are obvious.

    I understand what Nostalgia is saying with regards this, but from what I have read this case doesn’t seem to present such an issue.  There can be times when this does become an issue, so investigating officers do need to be careful not to cause cross-contimation (or be careful not to make it obvious if that is their goal) otherwise defence briefs will generally pick up on it.  More problematic is that information generally gets back to the defence team because in this game everybody talks, especially the clientele.  

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. F E Smith (3,314 comments) says:

    Just on the independence of judges, which I support, vs the idea that they are in fact employed by and therefore represent the public; this from the Northern Circuit judiciary in England:

    The position of the judiciary is straightforward. It is constitutionally independent.

    And long may it remain so.

    EDIT: And from a statement from a senior English QC:

    At the very heart of all of this is a central question of vital public importance:  Just what is the future of freedom under the law to be like?   Without good lawyers able to represent those individuals facing the massive power of the State, freedom under the law will die.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. itstricky (1,689 comments) says:

    Given the widespread disdain for the media on this blog, I find the ‘we know better than the judges’ attitude funny at best but concerning at worst. Unless you are sitting in the courtroom at the time you will -never- know why a particular decision was made. Unpopular decisions are made all the time – does not mean they are wrong just that -you- are not in posession of all of the facts. The public generally only have half the facts. Next time try thinking something like this “eww that’s weird there must be some reason why that happened”

    Once you understand this you naturally understand why the SST is completely the wrong way to do things.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. GPT1 (2,103 comments) says:

    Well said its tricky. I made that very point earlier today – it’s funny how a paragraph from the otherwise disdained msm gives guaranteed grounds to decide a good judge vs a bad judge.

    And remember the only decisions reported are those that sell papers. The 90 odd other decisions made by a judge in a list court that day to by without comment

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.