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  Reply # 1107410 13-Aug-2014 03:14
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Geektastic: It is a very long time now since I studied law as part of my degree - and a reasonable while since I had any need to put that knowledge to use - but IIRC there was a case (Smith v Leech Brain & Co I think) which established the doctrine known as 'Eggshell Thin Skull' in tort and in criminal cases.

It holds that a tortfeasor must take their victim 'as they find them' and that means they are liable for the extent of injuries even where they are greater than what might be expected given normal circumstances.

Now, this is UK law and precedent but I have seen UK cases referred to in NZ court judgments before, so clearly they are relevant in some way. Without actually reading the judgment in full, I have no idea what was argued in court or whether the judge referenced the doctrine but discounted it for some reason.

Overall, I find judges in NZ to be unduly lenient, however, and far too willing to accept excuses.

 

 

Excellent post with some actual legal basis for a conclusion - I have never heard of the eggshell skull, but having read wikipedia on it - it is very interesting.

 

 

Assuming the principle is held in NZ, and since its from UK law I would think it would - how come it doesnt appear to have been applied in this case?

 

 


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  Reply # 1107628 13-Aug-2014 13:40
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Geektastic:Now, this is UK law and precedent but I have seen UK cases referred to in NZ court judgments before, so clearly they are relevant in some way. Without actually reading the judgment in full, I have no idea what was argued in court or whether the judge referenced the doctrine but discounted it for some reason.

This is a misunderstanding. This charge was never brought before the court. The prosecution (or police) withdrew the charge. The judge did not make this decision at all.

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  Reply # 1107629 13-Aug-2014 13:41
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gzt:
Geektastic:Now, this is UK law and precedent but I have seen UK cases referred to in NZ court judgments before, so clearly they are relevant in some way. Without actually reading the judgment in full, I have no idea what was argued in court or whether the judge referenced the doctrine but discounted it for some reason.

This is a misunderstanding. This charge was never brought before the court. The prosecution (or police) withdrew the charge. The judge did not make this decision at all.


However in light of the principle, why would the charges be withdrawn?





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  Reply # 1107664 13-Aug-2014 14:07
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Geektastic:
gzt:
Geektastic:Now, this is UK law and precedent but I have seen UK cases referred to in NZ court judgments before, so clearly they are relevant in some way. Without actually reading the judgment in full, I have no idea what was argued in court or whether the judge referenced the doctrine but discounted it for some reason.

This is a misunderstanding. This charge was never brought before the court. The prosecution (or police) withdrew the charge. The judge did not make this decision at all.


However in light of the principle, why would the charges be withdrawn?


The Crown Prosecutor probably decided there was insufficient evidence or scope for prosecution.




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  Reply # 1107669 13-Aug-2014 14:17
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Are there any other relevant reasons in which a crown prosecutor will withdraw a charge?

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  Reply # 1107710 13-Aug-2014 15:11
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Updates: The crown is seriously considering an appeal against the sentence:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11308323

Family are awating that outcome before making a decision on a next move.

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  Reply # 1107755 13-Aug-2014 16:08
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gzt: Are there any other relevant reasons in which a crown prosecutor will withdraw a charge?


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  Reply # 1107785 13-Aug-2014 17:14
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lol hot off the press -

on the other hand, if you drove a car recklessly without causing any injury, you are responsible for death of someone in another car!

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  Reply # 1108100 14-Aug-2014 08:39
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joker97: lol hot off the press -

on the other hand, if you drove a car recklessly without causing any injury, you are responsible for death of someone in another car!

Apples and oranges.

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  Reply # 1108608 14-Aug-2014 18:41
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Read the judgement, the bit about the people there recording the fight on their phones really stuck out at me....

What type of school/team mates whip out their phone to record a fight instead of breaking it up? Where was the coach, had they already left as this was after rugby training? 

If we could see that footage we would know what type of fight this was... whether it was an excessive beatdown OR or a playfight gone wrong or what...

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  Reply # 1108801 15-Aug-2014 08:46
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Geektastic: It is a very long time now since I studied law as part of my degree - and a reasonable while since I had any need to put that knowledge to use - but IIRC there was a case (Smith v Leech Brain & Co I think) which established the doctrine known as 'Eggshell Thin Skull' in tort and in criminal cases.

It holds that a tortfeasor must take their victim 'as they find them' and that means they are liable for the extent of injuries even where they are greater than what might be expected given normal circumstances.

Now, this is UK law and precedent but I have seen UK cases referred to in NZ court judgments before, so clearly they are relevant in some way. Without actually reading the judgment in full, I have no idea what was argued in court or whether the judge referenced the doctrine but discounted it for some reason.

Overall, I find judges in NZ to be unduly lenient, however, and far too willing to accept excuses.


Depends if it is a common law precedent, or if the UK case relies on a law which is considered part of NZ law under the Imperial Laws Application Act 1988.  It is my understanding that New Zealand is a common law country, so a UK precedent based on common law would apply (in fact, even a US precedent based on common law would apply!)

Same if it's a precedent based on an imperial act which is still in effect in NZ.

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  Reply # 1108971 15-Aug-2014 12:41
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what struck me is that reading between the lines the coroner could not say for certain the heart condition caused the death, but this judge has stated that it did therefore there was no case to answer.

The simple fact is that this kid is dead and it is as a result of the fight. Intent aside, which would change the charge from murder to manslaughter the actions of 2 others had a direct result on his death.

The law is absolutely an ass, you can cause a death and there is no justice for the family.

Maybe the father should have a " moment of temporary insanity" can't say anyone in NZ would blame him?

This case makes me absolutely fume.

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  Reply # 1108977 15-Aug-2014 12:50
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Reading between the lines it seems the father of the victim has been following the accuseds's facebook pages and has seen only teenage business as usual. That would make most people mad. There is still no definitive answer on why the manslaughter charge was withdrawn. Personally I think the biggest failure in this case is a lack of process that aligns the needs of the family to see some genuine remorse and reconsideration of the actions that day.

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  Reply # 1109369 16-Aug-2014 00:26
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I don't think you can be charged with both manslaughter and assault with intent to injure and once the Crown knew about the heart condition, they felt that they wouldn't be able to get a conviction for manslaughter, so they changed their charge to assault with intent to injure. They didn't want him getting away with nothing if manslaughter couldn't be proven (which I don't think it could have, beyond reasonable doubt). The judge was therefore not able to consider the fact that he died in sentencing because it was not relevant.

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