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687 posts

Ultimate Geek

#137923 13-Dec-2013 14:02
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I'm a general practice lawyer and have been writing regular articles for a public newsletter of around 500 words per article.  I'm looking for some topic ideas for upcoming articles.

Thought I might have a shot at seeing if you guys had any bright ideas, areas of law or questions that you would be interested in knowing more about, to help me choose what to write about next?


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  #951644 13-Dec-2013 14:15
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Encryption & NZ law. Specifically whether someone can be compelled to reveal encryption keys without reasonable existing evidence that any particular drives contain infringing file(s).

It is a fairly untested area from what I know (not a lot) but it would be an interesting discussion to begin.

EDIT: Perhaps an exposition on what could or would count as reasonable evidence that a drive requires decryption. Obviously this is very open ended, but some examples maybe.

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Ultimate Geek


  #951648 13-Dec-2013 14:23
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I have a general one: Somebody made a sworn statement that is proven to be defamatory and untrue. It looks like the court will dismiss it and award costs to the person defending their good name.

What happens to the person who made the sworn defamatory statement? Can they be charged with some type of purjury? Does the court, apart from awarding costs, seek to set this person right?


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  #951669 13-Dec-2013 14:43
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How do we signup to the newsletter? Sounds interesting.

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  #951680 13-Dec-2013 14:48
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In the defamation area, what can you do if someone writes something online on an international website about your business that isn't true and paints your business in a bad light? Small businesses can't afford to sue, and it wouldn't be good for reputation.


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Ultimate Geek

  #951729 13-Dec-2013 15:46
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Thanks for all your suggestions.

We prepare parts of the newsletter under contract I am sorry, so we do not distribute it, our clients include it in their own newsletter & I am unable to give out their info I am sorry...

These are really good ideas though, thank you.  I really like the Encryption idea.  Very topical and something I have always worried about.  I will have to see if I could pull it off in 500 words.

I can't say I know the answer to these questions off the top of my head, but they are certainly interesting topics to look into and write about.  I have wondered about Defamation on an overseas server before but have not been involved in any such case - would be a great one to look at.

Regarding a sworn statement - the answer is clear but the outcome is not.  They can go to prison for up to seven years (possibly 14).  The actual outcome depends entirely on the circumstances / intent / effect / etc.

From the Crimes Act 1961:


108 Perjury defined



(1)Perjury is an assertion as to a matter of fact, opinion, belief, or knowledge made by a witness in a judicial proceeding as part of his evidence on oath, whether the evidence is given in open court or by affidavit or otherwise, that assertion being known to the witness to be false and being intended by him to mislead the tribunal holding the proceeding.




(2)In this section the term oath includes an affirmation, and also includes a declaration made under section 13 of the Oaths and Declarations Act 1957.




(3)Every person is a witness within the meaning of this section who actually gives evidence, whether he is competent to be a witness or not, and whether his evidence is admissible or not.




(4)Every proceeding is judicial within the meaning of this section if it is held before any of the following tribunals, namely:




    (a)any court of justice:




    (b)the House of Representatives or any Committee of that House:




    (c)any arbitrator or umpire, or any person or body of persons authorised by law to make an inquiry and take evidence therein upon oath:




    (d)any legal tribunal by which any legal right or liability can be established:




    (e)any person acting as a court or tribunal having power to hold a judicial proceeding:




    (f)a disciplinary officer, the Summary Appeal Court of New Zealand, or the Court Martial of New Zealand acting under the Armed Forces Discipline Act 1971.




(5)Every such proceeding is judicial within the meaning of this section whether the tribunal was duly constituted or appointed or not, and whether the proceeding was duly instituted or not, and whether the proceeding was invalid or not.


109 Punishment of perjury





    (1)Except as provided in subsection (2), every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who commits perjury.




    (2)If perjury is committed in order to procure the conviction of a person for any offence for which the maximum punishment is not less than 3 years' imprisonment, the punishment may be imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years.



113 Fabricating evidence






    Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who, with intent to mislead any tribunal holding any judicial proceeding to which section 108 applies, fabricates evidence by any means other than perjury.



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