Error of Judgement.
I know little of the Vince Siemer case, but went to the High Court out of curiosity and the possibility that something was not right. If this case is indicative of the operation of our High Court we have a serious problem. The deliberate obstruction of self representation is an oppression of our freedom. In the same manner the refusal of legal agents to represent a position or defend a client allows prejudicial determinations that defeat the very essence of a justice system.
There were many disturbing features in what I saw, but one aspect that took my interest. It was a reference in Justice Potters Judgement to Eichelbaum’s precedent:
“It is justice itself that is flouted by contempt of court”
His precedent is an error, perhaps that of an honest man, to assume that any other Judge would be of equal integrity. He might have concluded that the administration of justice is flouted by contempt of court.
Justice is a virtue but it does not stand alone. The more isolated it becomes from surrounding virtue the greater it distances itself from what is right. Justice defeats itself when it stands alone. It is wrong to suggest that justice is flouted by contempt of court when that jurisdiction exists in the public interest to ensure court orders are obeyed. That is the administration of justice.
When Mr Siemer received what I understand is the harshest sentence yet given in New Zealand for contempt of court, I was left asking myself was justice alone in New Zealand on Friday the 13th July 2007.