The right to silence

Law Commission President Sir Geoffrey Palmer and Labour MP Russell Fairbrother have called for a review of the right to remain silent if charged with a crime.

This follows the acquittal of Chris Kahui for the murder of his twin sons.

Mr Fairbrother said New Zealand today was different from old English society, which developed the law to protect powerless suspects “against the overwhelming power of the state”.

New Zealand’s human rights-centred law had created many rights which did not exist less than a century ago.

So because we have some more rights, let’s take one away to compensate.

Sadly National doesn’t kick the idea to death, as they should:

National Party justice spokesman Simon Power said he would look at any proposal tabled in Parliament.

“It is fair to say some issues have arisen in the last few days that would warrant a further focus.”

The right to silence is a constutitonal right in the United States. It is also in the NZ Bill of Rights Act.

Look, I hate the fact that some of the absolute scum of society get off, and the fact the right to silence may sometimes help them get off. But we should not be convicting people just because they don’t want to answer every question the Police ask them.

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