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Perceptions From The High Court

Filed under: Law & Courts — dpex @ 10:25 pm Tue 1st August 2006

It was a most fascinating, if not extremely expensive, day at the High Court having my appeal heard.

Justice Asher was in charge of being in charge. It became quickly clear that Asher J has one hell of a fine mind. He didn’t miss a thing in amongst the various attempts of opposing council to whitewash. Thus, whatever his decision will be will be acceptable because I am utterly confident that his judgement will be based entirely on fact and law.

Obviously, I can’t go into details of the issue but I can bring up some startling points.

1. The CYP Act, S200, says all FGC cases requiring a substantive hearing must have that hearing within 60 days of the first hearing.

Asher J was astounded this issue of mine has dragged on for nearly five months and was looking like dragging on for a similar term.

Asher J asked Counsel why this bizarre position could be the case? There was much shrugging of shoulders from the opposition benches till finally one made a most astounding comment. It seems that although the CYP Act demands action within 60 days, there is insufficient budget in Waitakere to employ more than one FGC Judge!

In other words, hundreds if not thousands of children and their families are being deprived of surcease due to lack of government funding.

Let me come back to the CYP Act. The time-limit was clearly imposed so that damage to all parties in a contested custody issue would be subject to the absolute minimum possible anguish; anguish from separation, and anguish from having to wait to learn one’s fate.

Down at the wickedly underfunded FGC, harrassed Judges, doing their best to sift through the rectitude of the variouis plaints, are almost forced to take an ‘insurance’ view.

Jan says George is abusing the kids. George says crap. Judge thinks, ‘I can’t work this out on the paper, but maybe, just in case, I have to go with Jan because the actually substantive hearing could take 12 months or more to get heard. And ‘if’ George ‘is’ an abuser, then the abused child might/will suffer and if that proves to be the case then I’m going to look really foolish’.

And so, dear readers, much fault for the horrors occurring to NZ familes stuck in this bizarre FGC environment can be laid right smack at the door of Dr Cullen. After all, he’s holding the purse-strings, keeping billions in a piggy bank he views as his personal property, while handing out millions to utterly wasteful causes, and utterly unfunding the FGC while he’s at it.

2. It became eminently clear that The opposing counsels had spent far too much time in the sloppy arena of the FGC, where unsubstantiated opinion is often the currency of the transaction.

Mr Hooker, on the other hand, was well prepared, argued eloquently, and was onto every little obfuscation ( I could use less polite terms) and rebutted them. Better yet, the Judge actually listened.

3. This next you will, I trust, enjoy. Claire Ryan, Counsel for CYF, at one stage started rabbiting on about my sense of rectitude and responsibility. Asher J asked of her where in their submissions the matter was mentioned. Ms Ryan, presuming the bombast she perhaps gets away with in other courts, chose to cite those now famous, 43 pages of transcript of my postings to this site.

Asher J let her dribble on and then, to my utter joy, asked Ms Ryan when any legislation had been introduced which curbed freedom of speech and Mr Me’s right to voice my opinion on the incompetence of the various players.

I got the pleasure of watching the tips of Ms Ryans ears turn bright pink.

So there you go. We can say whatever we like providing it is neither defamatory nor identifies the children involved, because Asher J has now stated we have the right to do so.

Better yet, stuff from the MENZ site is now enshrined in the evidential section of the High Court. Could be worse, folks.

4. I was somewhat surprised when Asher J invited Deluen, Counsel for child, to submit her own opinions as opposed to her brief from her client. Asher J made the point he was inviting her to trespass on her fiduciary responsibility toward her client (the child). So she did, with a relish poised in ‘difficulty-of-the-circumstance’. You know, like, ‘I’m just busting to tell you what I really think but…’

It was here that I initially gained a mild disappointment with Asher J because he failed to enquire as to why, and on what evidence Deluen had gained her view. Had he done so he would have learned that Deluen has no substance for such an opinion other than wanting to see yet another dotting male parent thrown under the bus.

But then I got to wondering if Asher J had actually popped that invitation in as a device to determine ms Deluen’s real position.

Perhaps I’m reading too much into what I saw, but my perceptions of Asher J suggest he is one bright man.

Claire Ryan. Counsel for CYFs (Crown Law Office).

May I begin this part by revealing that Ms Ryan (according to the mother in this issue) had asserted, just days earlier that, ‘This case was just a huge waste of tax-payers money. I can’t confirm that, but in the circumstances I would have to ask why the mother would report such a statement to me.

As I sat watching Ms Ryan posturing and listening to her ever weaker submissions I couldn’t help but be reminded of the scene in Pirates Of The Carribean where, suddenly, as the moon came out, the men of substance turned into empty skeletons.

That’s how I finally perceived her. All huge with no substance.

May I say I believe the author of Pirates got that idea from an extraordinary book entitled Lilith, written by a country pastor who was losing faith in his belief in mankind.

I also noticed she was bereft of a wedding band, and by my estimate some 30kg beyond any reasonable BMF measurement, had obviosuly had insufficient time to wash her hair this morning, and clearly hadn’t had time to recently visit a nail-bar.

But I think the overriding feeling I gained for her was a sense of sadness. I postulated that when anywhere outside her legal environment, where she is lawfully entitled to bully others, she has an utterly fragile personality.

I have seen exactly the same thing in a lawyer who was a friend of mine for years. In his legal environment he was the best. Outside, in ordinary society, the man was a social mess. In other words, he is a child in an adult’s body. The adult in his mind enables him to be a fine lawyer, but the undeveloped child in him defies his ability to maintain average social interaction.

I would guess is, as with so masny others in this hall of misery; childless, and that she lives alone (no partner), maybe has a cat, and maybe a flatmate in her flash house…albeit the current partner could be one of Leonard Cohen’s Travellers and thus constitutes a flatmate perforce….

What fascinated me was Ms Ryan’s propensity to affect a smile when she was concentrating on smiling, and then bursting into neo-applause whenever she felt one of the counsel on her side had made a point. Truly, she was doing thumbs-up stuff to Deluen, like a child watching a football match, whenever she perceived the other cousel had made a point. I can only postulate what Asher J made of this strange behaviour.

It was quite clear to me that to her ‘winning’ was the important part, and that any damage to the child concerned was an irrelevence. I perceived that in Ms Ryan’s world, people are irrelevant to winning. Winning is all.

But, when doing none of the above and forgetting to spread the affected smile, the bitter lemon-affect suffused her face and I thought, ‘That’s her real face. Bitter.’ I found myself feeling quite sorry for Claire Ryan.

At one point Hooker’s assistant, brushed past Ms Ryan’s notes file and her High Court gown caused it to open. The look Ms Ryan gave Emily’s back was tragic…..And all because she failed to stop and closethe file her gown had quite inadvertantly flicked open.

Just as an aside….Hooker, Emily and I took coffee during a break. This young woman watched me with wide-opn irises as I spoke about various matters to do with the child and the case. Those eyes looked into me with no sense of prejudice, like a large cat waiting to see if the bull is actually ready to be puled down.

For those of you who are not familiar with body-language, such an iris reaction, in such circumstances (remember, her big boss was there) is the hallmark of a fine brain which can sift without prejudice or fear. To do that takes an extraordinary mind. One of these days Emily will be a formidible lawyer.

My perceived difference between these folk who haunt the FGC, and Hooker is; Hooker is a well-rounded, reasonably ordinary man with good legal skills and a genuine sense of the macabre.

Whereas Hooker can see the macarbe and laugh at it, as it should be, these others live and thus become the macabre. Furthermore, the man can viscerally relate to and thus empathize with human beings. I suspect so many others in this macabre play do not enjoy the same senses.

Mercifully, in this instance, we had the likes of Asher J in the middle.

And so, from eight hours of legal wrangling, that’s what I perceived, amongst many other issue which I probably can’t discuss here.

And for those pedants who may wish to take issue with the time mentioned, we went on from 10 am till 7 pm on account of various counsel had bigger, better, brighter things to do tomorrow.

Long day. Asher J was yawning toward the end.:–((



  1. A very interesting and entertaining glimpse, thank you. Your characters were finely drawn and well observed.
    I still wouldn’t have much argument with Shakespeare’s suggestion that “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers” (Henry VI), but perhaps we could urge him to make an exception for Rod H and his assistant.
    best wishes for the outcome,

    Comment by PaulM — Tue 1st August 2006 @ 11:42 pm

  2. I perceived that in Ms Ryan’s world, people are irrelevant to winning. Winning is all.

    Thats the good old adversial system.Bit like the “over the top” philosophy of WWI generals.

    Long overdue for change.

    Comment by Scrap_The_CSA — Wed 2nd August 2006 @ 11:31 am

  3. don’t ypou think high time we had a commision to whom FC was accountable to?.. in light of all the issues..

    Comment by starr — Fri 4th August 2006 @ 8:55 pm

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