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Topic # 151376 23-Aug-2014 11:15
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I was reading an article which directed me to the MoJ website where I learned that there is no basic right of compensation in NZ for being wrongfully convicted and imprisoned.

This seems contrary to the much-vaunted Kiwi notion of fairness, as well as to pretty much any definition of natural justice etc I can think of.

Is there a reason for what appears to be a fundamental omission? It may be cultural/historic and not having grown up here I just may be unaware, which is why I ask.

I'm all for locking up crims and throwing away the key - but if a mistake is made, it does not seem right that someone might be deprived of liberty, employment, family life and so on for a period of years - or even decades - without being entitled fundamentally to financial redress.





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  Reply # 1113962 23-Aug-2014 11:17
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Any examples in mind?



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  Reply # 1113963 23-Aug-2014 11:21
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Zippity: Any examples in mind?


No because if I give any, it will colour the discussion.

I don't think there is a need for any, particularly - it's a discussion of principles. Is it right or wrong someone can be wrongfully jailed and left penniless on their eventual release?





 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1113979 23-Aug-2014 11:24
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Interesting. In the case of wrongful imprisonment or other miscarriages of justice that penalise people inappropriately I don't think anyone should contend that there shouldn't be compensation.




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  Reply # 1113980 23-Aug-2014 11:27
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i cant think of many cases where compensation hasnt been paid for wrongful imprisonment. 

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  Reply # 1113982 23-Aug-2014 11:36
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It might not be automatic and formulaic, but there are cabinet guidelines and it does happen. If you are thinking about the example that I think you are thinking about, then that is an excellent example of why the process isn't automatic - there is often a chasm between guilty beyond reasonable doubt and innocent without reasonable doubt



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  Reply # 1114001 23-Aug-2014 12:20
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But wrongful imprisonment is just that. Wrongful. How can a person not be entitled to some form of even basic compensation as a matter of right? Even minimum wage earnings for the years in jail, say?





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  Reply # 1114020 23-Aug-2014 12:39
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Geektastic: But wrongful imprisonment is just that. Wrongful. How can a person not be entitled to some form of even basic compensation as a matter of right? Even minimum wage earnings for the years in jail, say?


I agree, if the system has screwed up then payment should be forth coming,their legal costs should be fully met plus compensation for loss of earnings etc based on their earnings at the time of arrest. 




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  Reply # 1114050 23-Aug-2014 13:09
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Geektastic: But wrongful imprisonment is just that. Wrongful. How can a person not be entitled to some form of even basic compensation as a matter of right? Even minimum wage earnings for the years in jail, say?


I don't think there is in the USA either. But in NZ several people who have proven that they were innocent have got compensation in the past. It just may not  be written into legislation.  But even if that is the case people can still take it further, and they have.

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  Reply # 1114054 23-Aug-2014 13:17
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Zippity: Any examples in mind?

 

 

 

David Bain?




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  Reply # 1114060 23-Aug-2014 13:38
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TimA:
Zippity: Any examples in mind?
  David Bain?


He has put his request for compensation on hold, it's probably not going to be revisited until next year.

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  Reply # 1114091 23-Aug-2014 14:41
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Arthur Allan Thomas?
You are incorrect in your assumption there isnt compensation - however there is always fine print as in David Bains case

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  Reply # 1114187 23-Aug-2014 19:30
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SpookyAwol: Arthur Allan Thomas?
You are incorrect in your assumption there isnt compensation - however there is always fine print as in David Bains case


They should get rid of the fine print IMO.  In my opinion, Bain is probably guilty, however he has been acquitted - and is a free man (who has lost 13 years of his life) and should be compensated, regardless of public (or political) opinion. 
Unlikely - but being banged up for an extended period when innocent does happen.  It could happen to any of us.

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  Reply # 1114221 23-Aug-2014 21:51
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I think if your peers convict you, then it is no mistake, you just have a crap lawyer.

If the Police or other authority fraudulently provide incorrect evidence, then there should be options for suing said authority, not the Government directly.

Ie if the Police fake evidence, then they should be sued with the cost coming out of their budget. IMO it shouldn't be written into law, just use the law that is there already.

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  Reply # 1114250 23-Aug-2014 22:22
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I think there should be some form of compensation yeh, but it would have to depend on what the person done prior to being wrongfully convicted. If they had been on the bennie for 5 years, then nothing. If they worked as a cashier at CountDown, pay them the wage they were on as if they worked a full 40hr week. Obviously maybe something extra thrown in since they lost all weekends and time with family and stuff.

But if someone gets thrown in jail, they obviously won't be making mortgage or credit card payments. They'll probably default on all of those and have their credit history destroyed by it. They'd have lost their home and everything. Then again I'm not entirely sure how that works if you're in jail since you're not intentionally avoiding payments.




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  Reply # 1114251 23-Aug-2014 22:22
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I think there should be some form of compensation yeh, but it would have to depend on what the person done prior to being wrongfully convicted. If they had been on the bennie for 5 years, then nothing. If they worked as a cashier at CountDown, pay them the wage they were on as if they worked a full 40hr week. Obviously maybe something extra thrown in since they lost all weekends and time with family and stuff.

But if someone gets thrown in jail, they obviously won't be making mortgage or credit card payments. They'll probably default on all of those and have their credit history destroyed by it. They'd have lost their home and everything. Then again I'm not entirely sure how that works if you're in jail since you're not intentionally avoiding payments.




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