Monday, December 22, 2003

Justice sometimes takes time

National says "Let's just get on with the Ahmed Zaoui case":

"On the day there's a world-wide warning about terrorist activity, it's absurd that we in New Zealand are still arguing about how to deal with the Ahmed Zaoui case," says National Party Immigration spokesman Wayne Mapp.

Yes - it is absurd, but not in the way Dr Mapp thinks it is. What is absurd is that a country like New Zealand is even arguing that a man should be denied the right to a fair and impartial trial or to know the allegations against him. I had regarded these sorts of issues as having been settled with the Enlightenment, not something that would be seriously debated in this day and age.

Unfortunately, the govenment - acting under legislation drafted and passed by a National government (guilty conscience, Dr Mapp?) - is contesting these fundamental rights, and thus we have to fight them. This takes time, but the cost in injustice of acting swiftly - of allowing Justice Grieg to act according to his prejudices rather than according to law, natural justice and human rights - is intolerable.