Friday, June 18, 2010

Against cooperation with judicial murder

Stuff reports that due to the lack of an extradition treaty between New Zealand and China, the Chinese will try the man accused of the murder of Auckland tax driver Hiren Mohini. The New Zealand Police will reportedly cooperate with the trial and provide evidence. Some people might thing this is a good outcome, but there's a big problem: China has the death penalty for murder. So our police may very well be providing the evidence that sees a man taken out into a field and shot in the back of the head, and his organs recycled for transplant.

This is contrary to New Zealand policy and arguably contrary to New Zealand law as well. Internationally, New Zealand opposes the death penalty. We have been a major advocate of abolition. And like most of the civilised world, we will not extradite in death penalty cases. We should not cooperate in them either. The UK and Canada already have policies of refusing to providence evidence in death penalty cases, and we should follow their lead. Though arguably, the police must already do that - section 8 of the BORA says that

No one shall be deprived of life except on such grounds as are established by law and are consistent with the principles of fundamental justice
While section 3 makes it clear that the BORA binds the government without geographical restriction. The police are part of the government, therefore they are bound to obey the BORA, even in China. And that means not doing any action which would lead to a person's execution.

The death penalty is judicial murder, and agents of the New Zealand government should have nothing to do with it. The New Zealand Police should insist that the death penalty is taken off the table before offering any evidence in this case. Otherwise, they are no better than murderers themselves.