Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Goff on the Urewera 18

Phil Goff has weighed in on the Urewera 18, saying that the repeated delays to their trial (now unlikely to happen until next year) mean that justice is being denied. He's right. These people have been accused of a serious crime. They deserve a speedy trial, rather than having to wait around in limbo for four years. While the reason for the most recent delay is the appeals process from certain dubious lower court decisions, fundamentally it is due to the crown's decision to try them all at once, which creates timetabling problems with the single courtroom that will fit them all. If the government had not insisted on this, then we would likely have seen a verdict long ago.

As Goff points out, no Minister can interfere in the trial process. But they need to take a long, hard look at the policy and resourcing issues around this, to make sure it never happens again. People shouldn't have to wait this long for their day in court. Justice delayed is justice denied.