Sunday, February 19, 2012

Search and Surveillance Bill to be Law by April

Judith Collins, Minister of Justice, has announced that she intends that the Search and Surveillance Bill is law by mid-April this year.

Mid-April is when the 'temporary Video Surveillance law' expires. That is the law rushed through parliament to retrospectively legalise illegal police action. An action described by many lawyers as 'abhorrent' and even 'repulsive' and not needed. It is (or was) already law then, that any evidence gathered (whether legally or illegally) can be presented in court under the Evidence Act, at the discretion of the court, depending on the seriousness of the evidence.

New Zealand is one of the only lands where law can be changed retrospectively on the whims of government.

Once the Search and Surveillance Bill becomes law, we will be even more on the road to becoming one of the most heavily surveilled countries in the world.

There will also be fundamental changes to 'law and order' - the right to silence will be gone, as will the right to not incriminate oneself. And the law has a catch-22 phrase to legalise all future surveillance developments before they have developed.

This Act, hand-in-hand with other law changes going on, mean so-called 'rights' such as the right to a jury trial, the right to be present for your own court case, are being written out of law.

The Search and Surveillance Bill needs to be stopped now.