Thursday, February 18, 2016

More injustice

Three years ago, then-Minister of Justice Judith Collins tossed away any pretence of justice over David Bain's case for compensation by throwing out an independent report on the issue because she didn't like the conclusions (and just to prove the point, leaking dirt to a sewerblogger in a further effort to smear the applicant). That caused a court case, and the government having to start the entire process from the beginning with yet another independent expert. And now that they've reported back, some of their conclusions have been leaked to the Herald, in what appears to be yet another attempt to undermine the case for compensation.

I don't actually have an opinion on David Bain's guilt or innocence - crime news bores me shitless. But I do have strong views on how the government should treat applications for compensation, and this is simply appalling. In fact, you almost have to ask whether Bain deserves compensation for the prolonged government campaign to undermine his bid for compensation...

Meanwhile, this is once again showing the problems with having politicians involved in approving compensation for miscarriages of justice. The obvious solution is to remove them from the loop, and replace the current system of ex gratia payments with a statutory one, so that people who are wrongfully convicted are automatically compensated. And if the politicians don't like the prospect of someone who is potentially guilty receiving a payout, maybe they should focus their efforts on reforming the police, so they actually do their jobs properly, rather than seeking to further punish the victims of their injustice.