Thursday, May 24, 2007

Do not pass Go, do not collect $200

Police are seeking leave from the High Court to charge Taito Phillip Field with 14 counts of bribery as a Member of Parliament. If convicted, he could face up to seven years in prison, and would have to resign his seat.

So, will he show a shred of decency and resign now, or will he cling to his Parliamentary benefits right up until they day they lock him up?


Being from Labour I would suggest until he is locked up or voted out of parliament depending on what happens first.

Of course, Helen Clark said that he was clear of any wrong-doing, only of wanting to help people.

I bet she wished she never said those words once he convicted.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/24/2007 11:45:00 AM

I don't seem to be able to parse that last comment. It's all words, but they don't convey meaning.

What's the process for the High Court judge to decide? Is it the same as an indictment where the Crown has to demonstrate a prima facie case? Has there been a previous case?

Posted by Rich : 5/24/2007 11:48:00 AM

He will cling to his parliamentary benefits right up until they day they lock him up. (You asked the question.)

Posted by Anonymous : 5/24/2007 11:50:00 AM

I'll be as pleased as anyone to see the bugger locked up if he is found guilty - he's my local MP.

However, at risk of stating the obvious, he's innocent until proved guilty. If he's not proved guilty, he'll stink so high he'll never get any public office again.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/24/2007 12:13:00 PM

I imagine the most unsatisfactory possiblity all round is the judge declining approval. At a guess, they might not have to provide reasons, and seeing as there's no precident it would be anybody's guess.

scetion 103: (3)
"No one shall be prosecuted for an offence against this section without the leave of a Judge of the [High Court]. Notice of the intention to apply for such leave shall be given to the person whom it is intended to prosecute, and he shall have an opportunity of being heard against the application."

Not much indication for the layman there. At a guess they would have to show the alleged actions did break the rule (incuding having to be done 'corruptly') and there was a case that he did them. So maybe a pre-deposition kind of thing. But I did just make that all up.

Posted by Lyndon : 5/24/2007 12:28:00 PM

I am from Mangere. So we Brethrens believe in the bible as the literal word of God; and just coinicentally there is a direct legal appeal to God in The Law Deut 24:14 so we support our MP when he said "it is in God's hands"
However moving along the time before last God gave us a PM so we are praying for who God will give us next.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/24/2007 12:57:00 PM

Whilst no-one has been charged with committing an offence against s 103 of the Crimes Act before, applications for leave aren't unknown with other crimes, or in other contexts.

For example, leave from the Attorney-General is required before prosecutions for blasphemous libel, war crimes, or sex tourism, for example. Leave is also required to appeal a conviction when more than 28 days have passed since it was entered, or to get a second appeal.

Leave of a judge is required before the admission of certain evidence (e.g. a victim's sexual history in a rape case) - and a similar process will I suspect be adopted in this case.

The Crown will file their application, let Field know about it, and it will be heard (standard practice would be in a closed court, but I suspect an exception will be made, with the potential for suppression orders). The Crown will have to esablish that it is in the public interest that charges be laid. Questions about the strength of evidence shouldn't factor too strongly, but will have a part to play.

The existence of the requirement for leave is usually to avoid over-zealous prosecution, in this case, it is the leave of a high court judge, I suspect, because use of the Attorney-General might leave room for allegations of abuse for political ends.

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 5/24/2007 01:07:00 PM

So the judge will probably work to the 1992 Prosecution Guidelines. On that basis, I can't see any grounds not to prosecute in this case except lack of evidence.

Posted by Rich : 5/24/2007 02:20:00 PM

"So, will he show a shred of decency"

Dude, he's on the left. He thinks corruption *is* decency.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/24/2007 10:32:00 PM

"Dude, he's on the left. He thinks corruption *is* decency."

dude, politicians on "the right" have been known to be corrupt aswell.

take off the rose (or should that be blue?) tinted glasses :-)

Posted by Anonymous : 5/25/2007 11:56:00 AM

Isn't Donna Awatere Huata the only former NZ MP to be jailed for dishonesty in a fairly long time?

If there have been any left-wing MPs convicted of corruption here I can't find a reference.

Field isn't left-wing by the way. He's a social conservative who wound up in the Labour party for reasons of tradition (not to mention racism in right-wing parties).

Posted by Rich : 5/25/2007 04:51:00 PM

And it remains of course to see exactly what he is guilty of.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/25/2007 05:23:00 PM

Field may be a social conservative, but he is also a social democrat - he believes in a strong welfare state and in Government regulation etc. He is definitely economically left-wing.

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 5/25/2007 05:41:00 PM