Retiring Auckland QC Kevin Ryan has proposed ending both the right to silence and the ban on introducing previous convictions as "evidence" at trial. Like DPF, I'm stunned. Both are cornerstones of our justice system, and vital protections against miscarriages of justice. The right to silence ensures that any confession is voluntary (rather than extracted under duress by police eager to boost their closure rate), and protects that other cornerstone of our justice system: that it is the crown, not the defendant, which must prove their case. The bar on introducing previous convictions ensures that cases are judged on their merits and the evidence before them - not on what else the defendant is accused of or has done in the past. While both clearly lead to frustration at people "getting away with it" (as for example in the case of the Kahui twins, or the police rape case), this is the cost of justice. Eroding them would undermine another of our core principles: that it is far better for the guilty to go free than see the innocent wrongly jailed. And that is a principle I'd think that Kevin Ryan of all people would understand.