Yes, yes, yes, yes please

August 12th, 2013 at 3:49 pm by David Farrar

Blair Ensor at Stuff reports:

Finding out someone’s criminal history could soon be as easy as clicking a button, under major changes to improve public access to court documents.

Justice Minister Judith Collins told the Sunday Star-Times the current system, where people often have to apply in writing to the courts for access to information, is “completely insane”.

She wants all decisions online once the courts have completed a move to an electronic operating model next year. The documents would effectively act as a public register of criminals and improve public safety, she said.

It would also make the court process more open.

“If a matter is heard in open court that anyone can attend, why is it the next day they strangely can’t access that information? People have a right to know about what goes on in their courts.”

This would be so great if it happens. Court decisions are a matter of public record in theory, but in practice have been difficult to access. Having all court decisions online will be great for transparency and great for improved public safety.

Collins has an ally in Chief District Court Judge Jan-Marie Doogue who believes it is important the public understand the reasoning behind court decisions.

“We welcome any development which would enable the decisions of the District Court to be available in a timely fashion,” Doogue said.

“This would enable transparency and accountability.”

Well said Judge Doogue.

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96 Responses to “Yes, yes, yes, yes please”

  1. rouppe (980 comments) says:

    Agree. Would be a useful tenant check as well

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  2. dime (10,086 comments) says:

    so some poor bastard does something stupid in his 20’s and 20 years later some airhead HR brat can find out in 2 seconds and said poor bastard doesnt even get a job interview?

    [DPF: Nope we have clean slate legislation. Plus not all employers would worry about a 20 year old conviction]

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  3. dime (10,086 comments) says:

    could be fun for blogs.

    say you have some schmuck on here, lets call him “Gee Protege”

    imagine the mocking he would endure if after a quick search we found out he hooked up with a goat in the early 80’s.

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  4. Manolo (14,021 comments) says:

    What would the Law Society do? Would they oppose the move?

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  5. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

    I have no problems with the idea at all, in fact would probably be quite useful. At the same time, can we please get rid of the licence to lie given by the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004?

    EDIT: Not that I am claiming to be the Law Society! My comment appears after Manolo’s by coincidence.

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  6. alex Masterley (1,523 comments) says:

    I have no issue with the concept.
    I think it is a good idea.

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  7. mikenmild (11,594 comments) says:

    Open access would of course do away with the clean slate nonsense completely. One presumes that some records would have to remain restricted to protect the privacy of victims, etc.

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  8. publicwatchdog (2,779 comments) says:

    What would REALLY help ‘transparency’ and ‘accountability’ in the NZ ‘Justice System’ are the following 3 things:

    1) An ENFORCEABLE ‘Code of Conduct’ for NZ Judges, based upon the Bangalore Principles for judicial conduct.

    2) A REGISTER OF PECUNIARY INTERESTS’ for all NZ Judges.

    3) ALL Court proceedings to be recorded, and audio records made available to parties who request them.

    Also be rather good if Judges only based their ‘discretion’ upon the RULE OF LAW – and didn’t just ‘make it up’?

    (Check out http://www.kiwisfirst.co.nz )

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption/ anti-privatisation’ campaigner

    2013 Auckland mayoral candidate

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  9. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

    Open access would of course do away with the clean slate nonsense completely.

    Theoretically it wouldn’t, but practically I think that you must be correct. 

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  10. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    Theoretically it wouldn’t, but practically I think that you must be correct.

    It wouldn’t be backdated, so it would still have applications for a lot of people.

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  11. mikenmild (11,594 comments) says:

    It would be untenable for the clean slate to apply only for older convictions while everything new became a mattter of public record.

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  12. alex Masterley (1,523 comments) says:

    I suspect that there would need to be appropriate amendments to the clean slate legislation to address the situation.

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  13. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Sounds like a great idea. But would the judiciary oblige? I recall Helen Winkelmann refused to publicly disclose her reasons for the Urewera 15 to be tried by judge alone. She said:

    “I have no doubt that this trial will be complex, both factually and legally. I consider that the task of receiving evidence over such a lengthy period of time, and the volume and complexity involved when added to the legal directions that will be required, make this trial one ill-suited for resolution by a jury….The size and complexity of the task creates a substantial risk, if not a probability, that the jury, or sub-groupings of jurors, will begin deliberating before retirement in relation to innocence or guilt. It also creates the substantial risk that the jury will engage in improper reasoning if they are to reach their verdicts in a timeframe they would be prepared as a group to accept…there will be no vindication or justice in a trial which is aborted or in which the jury is so overburdened with the evidence that it applies illegitimate reasoning processes.”

    I have no idea why she couldn’t have released this extract.

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  14. Kea (13,264 comments) says:

    We have a strange situation in NZ. Any member of the public can usually wander into Court and watch the proceedings. The case may be reported in the media. Yet the result is treated as restricted information.

    I think it would be ok if the entire decision was available, as that gives the offending a context, which can make a big difference.

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  15. Scott Chris (6,176 comments) says:

    Yes, yes, yes, yes please

    Crikey, settle down Farrar!

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  16. frankdb (150 comments) says:

    There will be a lot of business people, public servants, lawyers…. hell just about anyone that will object to this.There are many skeletons in some very nice walk in closets that people would rather stay there.
    And that Judith Collins is just a nasty piece of shit.

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  17. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    I agree Kea, I have no problem providing the information is in context (except victims names).

    I also believe the information should not be ‘freely’ available on an open website where children can access it without supervision. Therefore identification should be necessary to access the information.

    The reason for this is obvious. Young people do not necessarily have the maturity or experience to deal with the information and allowing them free access could cause problems for innocent people.

    Whilst anyone can wander into a court and sit through any hearing, children do not generally wander in without adult supervision.

    There should also be an option for people to access advice on how to deal with certain types of information.

    I do feel sorry for people with common names, who will be caught up in the new ‘game’ when the information is first available and everyone finds it entertaining to see who they can find out about.

    It would be lovely if everyone was mature enough to handle the information in a responsible manner but we all know that is not the case, and there will be some situations where this information will lead to other crimes being committed and innocent people being hurt.

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  18. Kea (13,264 comments) says:

    People who do not normally find themselves in trouble would be horrified by this. The regulars, who make up the majority of offending, will not be so concerned.

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  19. Odakyu-sen (729 comments) says:

    How would you prevent juries from finding out about defendants?

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  20. RRM (10,001 comments) says:

    Speaking of poor bastards…

    Will this apply only to all NEW judgements, or is some poor bastard going to have to go back through time and copy every court decision that’s ever been made in New Zealand onto the website?

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  21. Akaroa (577 comments) says:

    “Finding out someone’s criminal history could soon be as easy as clicking a button”

    This is a crazy idea that will quickly do far more harm than good.

    As well as the reasons that have been mentioned here, there are a thousand and one reasons why this mad step should NOT be taken.

    Amongst them are human error in identifying offenders, mistakes in registration, etc., etc..

    Just crazy!

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  22. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ RRM

    the system already has digital records, however the process to access them is limited and very inefficient and of course very limited. Obtaining PC lists is complicated and restricted, however, putting that information on the net would not be a matter of ‘some poor bastard’ retyping the entire thing.

    In all honesty, I think Collins is grandstanding, there will never be a ‘spot the crim’ website running alongside Trademe.

    There is a definite need to have the information more accessible as the current system to get PC lists is a nightmare. However, for all of the reasons given by some above and many more, it is not practical to have full, free and open access for all and sundry.

    If such an idea did get past all the usual objectors and a few others, it will come with restrictions for obvious reasons.

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  23. gump (1,658 comments) says:

    I’d feel uncomfortable about this system being available through the Internet (since I think there’s some benefit from the Clean Slate legislation).

    But I’d fully support free electronic access through public terminals at the courts, with access granted to people who present suitable ID.

    The risk of opening up the system to unrestricted public access is that it will inevitably lead to situations of blackmail.

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  24. nasska (11,761 comments) says:

    gump

    Think that through….who with half his marbles still lining up is going to pay blackmail to keep something secret when anyone with an internet connection has access to the same info?

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  25. David Garrett (7,517 comments) says:

    Kea, at 4.33, has nailed this. At present we have the bizarre situation where, you – or some member of the fourth estate – happens to be in court on any given day, can hear details of the circumstances of the offending, the charge(s), and the sentence. Unless it is a closed court, any citizen has the right to hear all that. The very next day, that public information becomes information access to which is at the discretion of the presiding Judge. That makes absolutely no sense. (Of course under this proposal something which is suppressed – whether the name of the victims, the offender, or both – will remain suppressed. Which of course is exactly as it should be).

    I know my clients the Sensible Sentencing Trust have to go through all sorts of hoops – in some cases virtually grovelling to some ascerbic DCJ – in order to verify information about offenders which has been passed on to them from other sources before they dare publish it. The SST webmaster virtually has two full time jobs – the one the pay him for, and trying to ensure the SST offender website is accurate. This will put paid to all of that.

    Better still, it will give some real meaning to “deterrent sentences” handed down in a courtroom entirely empty aside from the Judge, the defendant, and the two counsel involved in the case. I’m sure FES has been there 100 times.

    Great move on the part of a superb Minister of Justice. A country mile better than her predecessor. And all credit to Chief DCJ Jan Doogue, who supports it.

    Odayka Sen: You have a very good point. Someone may know how they plan to deal with that problem.

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  26. dime (10,086 comments) says:

    [DPF: Nope we have clean slate legislation. Plus not all employers would worry about a 20 year old conviction]

    well thats good to know.

    when does clean slate kick in?

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  27. Elaycee (4,403 comments) says:

    This initiative is long overdue.

    Fan – tastic! :D

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  28. Chris2 (768 comments) says:

    I check my job applicants criminal history with the Ministry of Justice but its a complete farce as it is entirely paper-based – no e-mail allowed, even of scanned documents with the job applicants signed consent, and then the Ministry of Justice insist on posting the result back in the mail. So a round trip in the mail system adds another week’s delay.

    Oh and you have to wait 4-6 weeks for the results, and even if the applicant has a criminal record, they wont even tell you what sentence the person got!

    The whole process is useless and now they intend to charge for the check. if you request more than 25 checks a year they will invoice you $1850, and you still have to wait 4-6 weeks, unless you are prepared to pay a premium of $10,000 a year for a prioroty 4-5 day service, and then you have the pay the checking fee on top of that.

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  29. frankdb (150 comments) says:

    David Garret you fucking hypocrite, after you trying to hide your crimes?

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  30. David Garrett (7,517 comments) says:

    Bit early for you to be on the sauce…although they do say it’s progressive…

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  31. frankdb (150 comments) says:

    The only thing worse than a liar is a liar that’s also a hypocrite!
    Tennessee Williams

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  32. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    “when does clean slate kick in?”

    Seven years but there are a raft of exclusions

    http://www.justice.govt.nz/publications/global-publications/c/criminal-records-clean-slate-act-2004-english-corp-060

    Main one that is most effective is to distinguish between a one off and a regular miscreant is no clean slate if crimes within the seven year period.

    Similarly, does not count if locked up.

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  33. David Garrett (7,517 comments) says:

    Actually that brave boy who has offered to fight “anyone in Auckland” – until you tell him where to come – raises a point about alleged hypocrisy that deserves a response.

    Yes, I was fortunate to be granted name suppression when I appeared in 2005 for an offence committed 21 years before. This move will not change anything for such an offender – that person may still apply for a suppression order, and if it is granted, obviously his name will not appear on any such database.

    For obvious reasons I have never opposed name suppression being granted in a proper case. At least one journalist has had to print a retraction when he falsely claimed I spoke against it during my time in Parliament. Never did, and never will.

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  34. gump (1,658 comments) says:

    @nasska

    The opportunity for blackmail presents itself if somebody has worked their way into a senior position, but has a historical conviction.

    For example – an employee could use historical information to blackmail a senior manager.

    It is worth noting that blackmail doesn’t always involve the extortion of money from its victims. Threats against employment give the blackmailer a potent form of power over his or her victims.

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  35. duggledog (1,576 comments) says:

    Now this is going to be problematic for those boys and girls who were ‘a bit wild’ in their younger days and have since ‘turned their lives around’.

    What with changes to welfare entitlements – oh dear. Houston we have a problem. Employer chooses a… Filipino.

    Bugger!

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  36. frankdb (150 comments) says:

    Actually that brave boy who has offered to fight “anyone in Auckland”

    Again David Garret. Bullshit!

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  37. mikenmild (11,594 comments) says:

    I wonder whether this proposal could start a wider conversation about personal privacy. It seems to me that we have enshrined privacy to an astonishing degree over the past thirty years, often without really considering whether certain types of information should be publicly available.
    When I started in the public service, for example, the pay of every public servant (or at least their pay grade) was published in one list – the old stud book. I have often wondered exactly how this salary information about the public’s employees became private information. I have also wondered what harm could result from making the income tax returns of all New Zealanders availble publicly.

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  38. Black with a Vengeance (1,865 comments) says:

    when I appeared in 2005 for an offence committed 21 years before.

    You make it sound like you were a different person then ?

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  39. nasska (11,761 comments) says:

    gump

    If this idea sees the light of day there will be so many skeletons falling out of closets that it is doubtful that someone who has kept their nose clean for twenty years is going to be discriminated against. Most employers are realistic enough to know that by their late twenties all but the truly recidivist criminals have got their act together.

    What does concern me greatly is that the sex offenders who should be outed because of the danger they pose to the community will continue to be protected because of the name suppression they routinely get. I’m well aware that it is supposed to protect the victims but it enables the scum to serve their paltry sentences & offend again.

    This is the area that needs work.

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  40. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

    handed down in a courtroom entirely empty aside from the Judge, the defendant, and the two counsel involved in the case.

    Happens far more often than I like to admit, and it is one of the saddest things I know of.  I know that the offender is getting what they deserve, but it is always heartbreaking to see that nobody from his/her family or friends can be bothered to turn up to show some support.

    EDIT: frankdb, leave off DG. He has been through the system and come out the other side having made his recompense. Regardless of what you think, let bygones be bygones. It does you no credit at all to continue to harass DG.

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  41. Colville (2,298 comments) says:

    You make it sound like you were a different person then ?

    Who wasnt a different person 21 years ago?

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  42. frankdb (150 comments) says:

    You got to be fucking joking!!!!

    EDIT: frankdb, leave off DG. He has been through the system and come out the other side having made his recompense. Regardless of what you think, let bygones be bygones. It does you no credit at all to continue to harass DG.

    Recompense? What the fuck has he done that’s “recomprense” he’s pissed that he got caught out.

    And he is still a bullshitter and a hypocrite and until he actually falls on his sword he will be and remain a walking talking bullshitting hypocritical coward that gives men with moustaches a bad name.

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  43. Kea (13,264 comments) says:

    F E Smith, sentencing Judges often mention family support as a mitigating factor. Eg: They get a community based sentence, not prison.

    The poor bugger from an abusive family, who treated him like dirt all his life, gets none of that.

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  44. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Who wasnt a different person 21 years ago?

    I don’t know about you but I had the same name then as I do now.

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  45. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

     Kea,

    sentencing Judges often mention family support as a mitigating factor. Eg: They get a community based sentence, not prison.

    Legally it is not a mitigating factor.  The judge cannot take it into account when setting sentence, but you are correct that the fact that there is family support can often be the difference between a sentence of home detention/community detention or straight imprisonment.

    frankdb,

    like I said, give it up.

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  46. Black with a Vengeance (1,865 comments) says:

    Who wasnt a different person 21 years ago?

    Apart from the obvious pun :)

    Most adults 21 years ago are essentially the same people now. Unless they’ve been though some life changing, near death, spiritual reawakening etc, the simple fact is, if you were a dodgy cunt then, you’re probably still one now, but to a varying degree of dodginess and cuntitude and you just hide it better and dont get caught out so much.

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  47. Kea (13,264 comments) says:

    F E Smith, yes careless wording on my part. The fact is they often appear to get softer sentences if they have good support going forward.

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  48. Kea (13,264 comments) says:

    Sooty with an attitude problem, I wonder if you would have such an uncharitable view of David Garrett if he were one of the brothers, all because of a minor administrative infraction decades ago when he was a young fella ?

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  49. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

    Most adults 21 years ago are essentially the same people now.

    There is a theory working its way around the criminal justice arena that posits that young men’s brains are not fully mature until they are in their mid-20s.  The question is whether we can really treat men as young persons until they are 25, or whether it is just not a practical possibility, given the way the system is set up.  Plus, women mature earlier and there would therefore be a disparity based upon gender, which is also controversial (because it would appear to favour males).

    That is a long-winded way of saying that, actually, it is possible that many adults may be quite different to the adult they were 21 years ago.

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  50. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

    The fact is they often appear to get softer sentences if they have good support going forward.

    I understand your point, I just was pointing out that there is a good reason for this.  I would note, however, that I have had clients turn down sentences of Home D because it is tougher than doing a shorter prison sentence!

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  51. frankdb (150 comments) says:

    Smithy, NO. Do not tell me what to do. DG is a (quote my old mum) A long streaky piece of shit.

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  52. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    nasska (7,180) Says:
    August 12th, 2013 at 6:48 pm
    —————————

    Those that get name suppression will always be protected from the system. If the system was opened up and all offences and details put freely available on line for all to see, you may find that even more get name suppression.

    I believe the information should be available on line, however, I would like a system where, for example the information could be accessed via lawyers or other specified social agencies, who could then counsel their clients on how the information was handled.

    In that way the information is less likely to be abused and innocent people less likely to be harmed by identity mistakes etc.

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  53. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    F E Smith (2,762) Says:
    August 12th, 2013 at 7:54 pm
    —————————

    Home detention is not an easy sentence for many, and especially for the families who have to cope with someone limited in their home who cannot in some cases earn an income, is constantly bored, and unable to assist with domestic tasks such as picking up children, shopping etc.

    Some even ask to return to prison after giving HD a try.

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  54. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

    Frankdb,

    no, you are acting like a jerk.

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  55. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Black with a Vengeance (1,356) Says:
    August 12th, 2013 at 7:43 pm
    —————————–

    I totally disagree. There are many people who learn from the mistakes, and never repeat them. There are others who become caught up in circumstances and end up with a conviction for a crime they will never commit again.

    That is why, if they must do this, that all information regarding context is also given.

    As an example, there was a publicised case of a young man, who had a family, worked hard as a share milker and was in the process of trying to buy his own farm (this was some years ago). On a rare day off he and the family went to the beach with some friends. The friend had bought a jet ski and offered the young farmer a turn. In the process he hit a man in a small craft and killed him. He was not aware that to turn the jetski he had do the opposite to that of a normal vehicle.

    The judge decided to make an example of him, he received a harsh sentence and was imprisoned.

    He will never offend in that manner again, but he is a killer. Without the details one might think he was a violent man. He wasn’t, he was a gentle loving father, whose life, family and future prospects were ruined by the simple mistake of not ensuring he knew how to operate the ski. There are thousands of more people like him, whose crimes whilst looking serious on the sheet, are not representative of the type of people they are today.

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  56. Black with a Vengeance (1,865 comments) says:

    I wonder if you would have such an uncharitable view of David Garrett if he were one of the brothers…

    Unless they found Jesus, it only takes a good night on the piss for the same person/adult from 20 years ago to rear their ugly head. And yeah…i got rellies i wouldn’t piss on to put out if they were on fire for being arseholes back in the day :)

    FWIW I couldn’t give 2 shits about Garrett

    Know of any leopard who truly changed their spots from 20 years ago F E Smith ? Or even, how much of you now is essentially still the same person, still holds the same values and acts the same way in most circumstances as you did in your 20’s?

    I’d say most…

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  57. Black with a Vengeance (1,865 comments) says:

    Y’all have seen Big Dealers eh?

    http://www.nzonscreen.com/title/close-up-big-dealers-john-key-1987

    Still the same smarmy know it all prick he was then eh :)

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  58. Viking2 (11,544 comments) says:

    frankdb (145) Says:
    August 12th, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    You got to be fucking joking!!!!

    EDIT: frankdb, leave off DG. He has been through the system and come out the other side having made his recompense. Regardless of what you think, let bygones be bygones. It does you no credit at all to continue to harass DG.

    Recompense? What the fuck has he done that’s “recomprense” he’s pissed that he got caught out.

    And he is still a bullshitter and a hypocrite and until he actually falls on his sword he will be and remain a walking talking bullshitting hypocritical coward that gives men with moustaches a bad name.
    =============================

    so we can recognise you then from your scraggy mostache.
    No doubt you have weird beard to complement said mostach.
    and a bald head.

    The only coward on KB is you and your scumbag mate with the bad black vengeful attitude.

    Arsewipe.

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  59. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    When did we get clean slate legislation?? I don’t think this is correct.

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  60. nasska (11,761 comments) says:

    Judith

    Although my preference is for the total abolition of name suppression & full disclosure of all criminal court proceedings I am happy for the package to be introduced incrementally.

    I’m not in favour of your proposal to limit access to lawyers but I can see the merit of imposing a small charge for the service. If this had to be made via credit card it would largely cover the issues of trawling the registers for information & limit the accessibility of the site by minors.

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  61. Ryan Sproull (7,259 comments) says:

    If I was judged today by my behaviour even eight years ago, I would feel a bit hard-done-by. I have the same legal name, but the same person? Nope.

    Let alone 21 years.

    Give Garrett a break on that count.

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  62. Black with a Vengeance (1,865 comments) says:

    Suck a bag of dicks V2.

    My observations weren’t even specific to DG.

    Having everyone’s criminal records available to peruse at leisure is more of that ‘nothing to hide, nothing to fear’ bullshit?

    The truth is, everyone has something to hide and every reason to fear if it became public. Imagine the potential for on line bullying, blackmailing and extortion.

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  63. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    nasska (7,182) Says:
    August 12th, 2013 at 8:17 pm
    ————————

    A small charge would stop trawling, as you say. My concern is for the people that don’t know what to do with the information they receive, if it is given in an unsupervised way. Whilst you are clearly an intelligent person Nasska, and would be able to think the problem through and come up with a solution that was best for yourself and your family, not everyone is like that.

    Some would not know how to handle that information and may end up committing a crime themselves or worse, in the process of dealing with the information. Providing advice on certain crimes, like those you are concerned about, might help people with protecting their families. Not everyone would go out and seek advice before acting.

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  64. Kea (13,264 comments) says:

    Black with a Vengeance (1,359) Says:
    August 12th, 2013 at 8:16 pm
    Y’all have seen Big Dealers eh?

    http://www.nzonscreen.com/title/close-up-big-dealers-john-key-1987

    Still the same smarmy know it all prick he was then eh

    Ungrateful darkie with an attitude problem, I bet you can not find a video of the Klarken Beast earning money :)

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  65. Black with a Vengeance (1,865 comments) says:

    I believe you still think the same Ryan, but maybe don’t act on it as you would have in your younger years, so in essence you are still the same person.

    Comes down to what defines us as people, thoughts or actions. And you know what karma says :)

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  66. Black with a Vengeance (1,865 comments) says:

    Couldn’t give a fuck about the money Kea…it’s the smarm and arrogance that grates.

    and seriously Clark has moved on to bigger, better things, let it go…

    Your idol Johnny No Mates will always be the banksters rentboy buying everyone drinks :)

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  67. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

    Joana, 2004.

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  68. Kea (13,264 comments) says:

    Sooty with a sense of entitlement, what you are seeing there is the relaxed confidence of a competent white man bringing in the millions to build a society that can afford to give the benni and house your whanau in a comfortable prison. :)

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  69. frankdb (150 comments) says:

    Schmitty, Whatever!

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  70. duggledog (1,576 comments) says:

    Clark has only moved on to spending bigger chunks of OPM in a better city. That’s what Labour people do.

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  71. frankdb (150 comments) says:

    HEY DPF!!!! how about showing who votes up and down?

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  72. Chuck Bird (4,922 comments) says:

    “HEY DPF!!!! how about showing who votes up and down?”

    How about using your ful real name.

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  73. Black with a Vengeance (1,865 comments) says:

    Oh fuck off Kea. What you’re seeing is a ruthless, unethical moneytrader, with an ego the size of a small planet and a competitive streak to compensate for being a dirty little poor jewboy growing up with no Dad, who doesn’t give a fuck about New Zealand or what he does to the NZ currency and economy.

    In my not so humble opinion.

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  74. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    F E Smith says:

    There is a theory working its way around the criminal justice arena that posits that young men’s brains are not fully mature until they are in their mid-20s.

    It’s more than a theory, FES. It’s a neurological fact that people’s brains do not physically develop completely until some time in their 20s. A very thorough review of the scientific literature concludes that:

    There is strong evidence that, from a neurological perspective, the human brain is not fully developed in its capacity for cognitive functioning and emotional regulation until well into the period of young adulthood. From a psychological perspective, evidence shows that psychosocial capacities and moral reasoning abilities vary considerably between individuals in the young adult age group, so that some remain immature longer than others, including after the legal age of adulthood. From a criminological perspective, research reveals that how an individual demonstrates maturity, for instance in decisions about whether to engage in particular courses of action, is heavily dependent on the social, economic and cultural context in which the decision is made, and in particular on the ‘moral rules’ that operate in the particular context. In other words, the same individual may act with varying degrees of maturity from one social context to another.

    Overall, the research reviewed in this report points emphatically to the inappropriateness of an arbitrary age limit as the key factor determining the kind of judicial response an offender should receive, and that in the young adult group, the level of maturity exhibited by an offender is a valid factor to be considered within the legal process.

    So it’s not even as simple as saying “if you’re stupid after 25 you’re stupid for life” (or a “dodgy cunt” as someone so charmingly termed it above. Perhaps their own brain has yet to fully develop).

    I am 100% certain, based on the available neurological, psychological and criminological research, that David Garrett was, to all intents and purposes, “a different person” in his 20s, as were we all – or at least less-developed versions of our future selves.

    That’s why I’ve always joined you and others in saying to people they should stop banging on about what he did all that time ago. And why I never use it in the many debates I have with him. It’s irrelevant.

    Similarly, any number of emotionally traumatic events – from being attacked to having someone break into our home to finding our partner in bed with another person – can cause us to act in a momentarily irrational way. Certainly the acts we may commit while in such a state deserve punishment. But they do not act as a marker to how we will behave for the rest of our lives, and should not be able to be used as such by, as dime so aptly puts it “some airhead HR brat” who knows less about criminology than about HR.

    That is why it is a shame to see yourself and DG, and others who ought to know better, favouring this proposal and, worse still, the effective rescinding of the Clean Slate Act (which after all only applies to fairly innocuous offences).

    Everyone deserves a second chance. Now if the proposal was to make available the records of recidivist offenders then I might join your applause.

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  75. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    21 years ago? One offence?

    What a load of rubbish.

    Try three offences – the last one within the last three years.
    Plus lying and getting a suspension.

    If we are going to discuss the man, lets at least be honest about what we are discussing.

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  76. frankdb (150 comments) says:

    Rex Widerstrom (4,983) Says:
    August 12th, 2013 at 8:58 pm.

    Totally 100%

    Except for DG.

    Nothing less than a shrunken head on a pole is acceptable.

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  77. Black with a Vengeance (1,865 comments) says:

    Don’t make me go all mind /body cartesian duality on your asses eh :)

    A large part of YOU is predetermined and inescapably the person you will always be from birth!

    Nature vs nurture is all very well, but some people are just born dodgy cunts.

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  78. frankdb (150 comments) says:

    Yeah I bang on but he was a tailcoater that was caught out as a bullshitter, unlike the better bullshitters that occupy parliment

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  79. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Black with a Vengeance (1,364) Says:
    August 12th, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    ——————————-

    Apart from psychopaths, I don’t believe people are ‘born dodgy’. I think experience, example and circumstance, combined with intelligence gives some people more propensity to lead an illicit lifestyle over others.

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  80. Anthony (798 comments) says:

    Currently some stuff like bankruptcies and I think drink driving are published in what is called the NZ Gazette – a publication that 100 years ago was a newspaper but is now an obscure publication that virtually no one reads. Even worse, the giving of public notice is still defined in many statutes as putting a notice in the NZ Gazette. Often this is in addition to the modern equivalent of putting the notice on a website. The Gazette thing is a total waste of time and money but everyone puts getting rid of it in the too hard basket or considers it someone else’s problem I guess.

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  81. Black with a Vengeance (1,865 comments) says:

    The progeny of 2 miscreants is gonna take a hell of a lot of nurture to overcome their nature, don’t you think Judith ?

    It’s in their genes to start with.

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  82. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Black with a Vengeance (1,365) Says:
    August 12th, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    That is a hard one BWV. There are examples on both sides of the argument.

    If a child is the product of ‘two miscreants’ that are still offending, then they are not going to get positive role modelling that will encourage them to not offend. However, if the two miscreants have ceased their offending ways, and the child is not exposed to an illicit lifestyle, then there is every chance they won’t offend.

    But lets face it, it entirely depends on the type of offending. If you are talking about violence, then there are suggestions that the propensity to have a ‘short fuse’ is inherited. I don’t see how the propensity to rob banks is inherited though, rather a learned behaviour.

    Dishonesty is a hard one. I used to argue it was a learned behaviour, however, read some research where there was a strong argument for it being an inherited trait. It’s a hard one to answer with so many contravening arguments.

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  83. KevinH (1,234 comments) says:

    “Finding out someone’s criminal history could soon be as easy as clicking a button, under major changes to improve public access to court documents.”

    This information is already available, albeit slowly, it’s the means of access which is signalled to change. The question is “who may have access, and why.
    Judges may continue to suppress information to protect the right to privacy of victims, it is that information that could prove to be problematic if readily available in the public domain i.e. sexual abuse victims.
    Another point worth considering is that if such a system was introduced would it have historical cases also made available or would it only apply from the moment the legislation allows it.

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  84. Black with a Vengeance (1,865 comments) says:

    I believe in informed choices, awareness of consequences and personal responsibility overriding natural instinct, but to an extent, some things are hardwired into people from birth and fight as you may…

    Take gayness for example :) Nature selected it as a trait for a reason.

    What do you think that might be ?

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  85. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Black with a Vengeance (1,366) Says:
    August 12th, 2013 at 9:33 pm
    ———————————

    So sock manufacturers could make a decent profit?

    Two men living together would never find the sock drawer! :P

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  86. Griff (8,127 comments) says:

    “Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done.” …
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/8972115/Fewer-gain-suppression

    The veil of secrecy shrouding the country’s courtrooms has been lifted considerably since a law change that tightened name suppression criteria for people facing criminal charges.

    Latest figures released by the Ministry of Justice under the Official Information Act show a 60 per cent drop throughout New Zealand in the number of defendants keeping their names secret, from a high in the 12 months to June 2010.

    That year the number of people granted name suppression in the Palmerston North District and High Courts hit a peak of 257. This fell 95 per cent to about 12 people in the year to June 2013.
    The number of defendants granted suppression who admitted or were found guilty of charges has remained about the same.

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  87. nasska (11,761 comments) says:

    Faded Fa’afafine with Flatulence

    …”What do you think that might be ?”…..

    Com’on….you’re among friends. Tell us! :)

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  88. Griff (8,127 comments) says:

    Aunty Polly black f.o.b with a vengeance.
    It all falls into place.
    Or in this case has “it” been removed?

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  89. David Garrett (7,517 comments) says:

    Amusing coming back in several hours later and seeing the deterioration in young Frank’s “argument” – which was barely even that four hours ago – after he has spent several hours on the ….fanta.

    Frankie, if you really cant remember offering on here to fight “anyone, anywhere you in Auckland” a couple of months ago you really do have a problem. Some clever person – if they can be bothered – will make one of those clever link thingies to your comments then….You went awfully quiet when I told you I lived on Kanohi Road Kaukapakapa…still do…old villa down a long drive; red plastic letterbox…

    Actually I have no problem with the Clean Slate legislation…although offences like mine would never have been wiped anyway would they FES? It’s only for truly minor stuff as I understand it… I think I may differ with my friends at SST in being comfortable with that legislation, but then I disagree with them a good deal…

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  90. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    Black with a Vengeance suggests:

    A large part of YOU is predetermined and inescapably the person you will always be from birth!

    True to an extent. Twins separated at birth whose natural fathers had suppressed P3 brain waves (a marker of impulsive behaviour) were found to have reduced P3s over time regardless of upbringing. However, your upbringing can teach you to mitigate the actions that result from those impulses. Both my father and I have short tempers, but – aside from vocalisation – we manifest that trait in very different ways as my environment growing up was very different to his.

    It’s true there are remarkable – and quite amazing – congruence between identical twins reared apart (without wishing to threadjack I suggest anyone interested Google “Jim twins” or “MCTFR Research”).

    But that in no way negates my argument that everyone deserves at least a second chance, to make a new life for themselves where their past failures don’t come back to haunt them. What they do with that chance is up to them.

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  91. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    David Garrett says:

    Actually I have no problem with the Clean Slate legislation

    Then how do you reconcile that with your support for this move? I know hypotheticals are annoying, but let’s try one. Some lefty develops an irrational dislike of a young righty. Said righty goes out on the turps one night, decides to relieve himself against a wall and gets done for indecent exposure. This is gossiped about at the time but soon forgotten, but the lefty with an irrational dislike jumps on the court website and screen captures righty’s name and the offence he committed.

    Fast forward 20 years and our righty has matured considerably and throws his hat in the ring for public office. The Clean Slate Act has ensured his youthful stupidity is erased from the public record – or so he thinks. Lefty leaks his screen capture to the media, without context (which is now gone from the website thanks to the CS Act, assuming the media would even care to research it) and the headlines bellow “Righty candidate has sex conviction”.

    Michael Laws has stooped to using a withdrawn charge, in which the complainant admitted publicly that she lied, against me. So did Ron Mark. Imagine what vitriolic little trolls like that would do with evidence of an actual conviction?! [And yes, I make reference to Andrew Williams doing exactly what my hypothetical describes. He wasn’t a 20 year old, he was a middle aged man already holding public office. At some point, slack is no longer cut. That’s an example of that point].

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  92. Warren Murray (312 comments) says:

    Can this also include photos of the crims?

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  93. frankdb (150 comments) says:

    As I pointed out earlier, Collins is a cunt, Garret is a hypocrite, WO beats of to ladyboys and johnkey is the hand puppet we all feared

    [DPF: And that’s 50 demerits]

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  94. David Garrett (7,517 comments) says:

    Rex: Nice to see you back.

    I guess the obvious answer to your scenario is that it is extremely unlikely that someone would do such a thing…not impossible, but unlikely. I don’t think you are one of the “Obama’s not really American” conspiracy theorists, but arent you positing someting a bit like the argument that Obama’s mother had faked birth notices inserted into a Hawaii paper because she just knew that forty years later little Barry was going to stand for President?

    I think the real concern with this legislation is how it will fit with our policy not to reveal prior crimes during a trial. I heard of a Judge the other day – obviously a man with a few clues who realises it’s the 21st century – instructing a jury at the trial of a habitual criminal. He said something like ” with the technology now available, and the defendant’s reputation, I realise some of you will already know something of him. Your job is to try as best you can to put that from your mind and assess the evidence in THIS case without preconception”.

    So, I remain supportive of Clean Slate legislation which rightly wipes our naughty rightie (or leftie’s) unwise piss/vandalism/ indecent exposure as a young man, but I am very supportive of this move also.

    Frankie: Get help son. They’re a great bunch at AA…once you find the right meeting for you…

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  95. sassycassy (45 comments) says:

    Currently Tenancy Tribunal orders online are only held for 3 years- if this were to be a precedence for other Min of Justice information under Judith Collin’s proposal

    I use an agency for tenant checks that purports to not only check applicant’s credit rating with Veda but also searches other public MOJ orders and the MOJ fines database. I’m not concerned about fines- but as a landlord I would like to know if a tenant applicant has been convicted of gbh

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  96. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    @David Garrett:

    Thanks for the welcome. Work ebbs and flows, and a lot of it now takes place in areas where a phone signal, let alone wireless broadband, is a wonder to behold.

    arent you positing someting a bit like the argument that Obama’s mother had faked birth notices inserted into a Hawaii paper because she just knew that forty years later little Barry was going to stand for President?

    Not really. The incident Laws and Mark threw up happened around a decade ago. It’s not outside the realms of possibility I’d go back into politics after that long out of it. Come to that, it’s not an absolute impossibility you might not, at some point. Given our pre-existing profiles at the time, there’ll always be a trail left by online media.

    But I’m thinking more of someone active in student politics today, who makes a run 10 or 20 years later. It’s an unlikely scenario I admit, but given the very personal vitriol that obviously motivates players like Laws and Mark, not an impossible one.

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