Military Justice Legislation Amendment Bill- First Reading – Video 3

Military Justice Legislation Amendment Bill- First Reading – Video 3

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middle chief I call dr. Duncan Webb thank you madam Speaker guilty great pleaded to speak on this bill and also to recognize the great work that our armed forces have undertaken in the past many years in its somewhat overdue I must say to bring our armed forces discipline in line with their that they would find within the civilian the civilian criminal courts as the honourable and gallant member marks noted it’s really important that members of the armed forces are accorded the same rights of Criminal Procedure as anyone else in for far too long there’s been a sense that Criminal Procedure and the Armed Forces can be hard and fast and not adhere to due process so this is a welcome reform a reform which Accords appropriate rights and probably the most important reform in my view is the repeal of section three two of the Armed Forces discipline act a quite extraordinary section the section which provides that we are an accused military members is charged with an offense against the act and refer and relies on some defense or excuse exemption or qualification in the provision of the effect if the offense led us to say been affirmative defense then the onus of proof under that section lies with the accused person now there is a truly extraordinary section it reverses the usual onus the usual burden it requires an accused person to in fact prove their defense madam Speaker that is repugnant to our our rights and it’s been well noted that that kind of onus is not consistent indeed it’s not consistent with our own New Zealand Bill of Rights Act section 25 C of their act makes it very clear that the presumption of innocence is a constitutional right of every New Zealander and it is very overdue that we now Accord that right to military personnel who accused of wrongdoing indeed in a recent case or relatively recent 2007 of our own Supreme Court the importance of that onus was was examined that’s a case of the crown and Henson a case concerning cannabis position in the presumption of dealing in the Supreme Court there made it very clear that indeed even in a case of that nature the onus lies on the prosecution to discharge the burden even in cases like that we the defense was one of whether or not it was a quantity for supply one would have thought that 1.5 kilos was for supply but the fact of the matter is the prosecution had the onus of proving that this is a threat that has run through all of our law so it’s not only our law the English law in the law of the United States we need to make sure that you know even tribunals military tribunals in civilian tribunals make errors and we need to make sure that the scales are tipped very clearly in favor of the accused so that margin of error isn’t isn’t doesn’t fall foul indeed even the Universal Declaration of Human Rights acknowledges that in its Clause 14 – of course that’s not to say that the accused only has to raise the possibility of one of these affirmative defenses it still will be necessary for them to produce evens or for their to exist evidence of self defense of insanity or of the any other number of affirmative defenses there exist so it’s a real pleasure for me to recommend this bill to the house which will which will effect that reform of course the other thing that this bill does which is really really important is to bring to military tribunals the approach of civilian tribunals in respect of victims because when there is a victim in a military environment they are just as much of a victim as in any other situation in fact arguably their situation is even more trying so it is very good indeed to see the recognition of victims rights the placing of the victim very squarely in the in the in the at the center of the procedure because clearly the victim has a very significant interest in being a part of that procedure and we know perhaps in some instances quite sadly that there’s a real interest in knowing when prisoners or offenders or accused are released on bail so section 1 9 8 J the fact that we know someone is released on bail is very very important because it’s absolute mr. goldsmith you of all people should know how important it is that they think that the victims of crimes are aware of what’s going on in their community look it happens even in your community mr. goldsmith no matter yours and mine bone so it’s quite right it’s quite right that I know that and what’s more the views of the views of the victim are to be taken into account we are but wind bail is applied for and that’s really important too because as the member marks noted the fact of the matter is that victims of crime have legitimate views and voices to be heard in the process and it’s quite right that a military tribunal should take into account the views of a victim as to win but more appropriately how people are released on bail because certainly in terms of their ability to contact the victim or be in the vicinity of the victim all of those kinds of things we want to make communities feel safe and that is an important part of it and of course the other really important part of the recognition of the rights of victims is the is the appointment of a victim and of an officer to liaise with the victim they’re important nexus between the judicial process and the victim and obviously victims are not in didn’t anticipate becoming familiar with the judicial in criminal processes so someone to be alongside them to assist them in understanding the process to to make sure that they can have a voice in that process and the importance of that voice is really a fantastic innovation in the military tribunal and of course in those unfortunate events where there is an escape or we a offender is not complying with conditions of release or is in breach of by all conditions the victim also has a right to know those matters as well so it’s really important that the victim is engaged at every level the other factor in here which is of importance as well is when we have people who might be liable for de Bourgh deportation we know that not all of our military personnel are necessarily citizens and if convicted of an offense they are liable for deportation and it’s quite right that if that right is not exercised then the victim has a right to know because it’s quite appropriate they know whether that person still remains in the community having said that this is a bill that came from the other side of the house but it’s clearly one that is timely it’s one which does bring and there is absolutely no substantial reason particularly in times of peace that there should be a two-tier system that military personnel should have less sites that victims of military personnel offending should have less rights it’s and it’s absolutely appropriate and admirable that we have a single system of criminal justice that recognizes both the rights of the offender to due process so that the the accused does get a fair trial that the wrongly accused are appropriately discharged and also the rights of victims possibly we’ve had an approach historically that says in that too much goes in the military they’re a bit of rough and tumbles okay well it’s not it’s quite appropriately recognized crime where it exists whether it be civilian or whether it be military so this bill is exactly what we need I commend it to the house and I look forward to Select Committee I’m sure that process will improve it I hope that there are substantial submissions on it both from the civilian the New Zealand Law Society delights the civilian sector shipped but also from the military because I think that will get the most useful and informative submission so madam Speaker I commend this bill to the house madam Speaker pleased to take a call on this military

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