Saturday, June 13, 2015

Bulletin: Impressive group of volunteers launch 'New Zealand Public Interest Project" (NZPIP) to probe potential miscarriages of justice. Publisher's View: (Judging from some of the New Zealand cases reported by this blog - including Teina Pora, Mark Lundy and David Bain - the NZPIP has its work cut out for it! I wish them great success. Harold Levy; Publisher. The Charles Smith Blog.)

The New Zealand Public Interest Project is being launched today - Saturday June 13, 2015. Its stated purpose: "In even the fairest justice system, there are those who fall through the cracks. The New Zealand Public Interest Panel was founded on the belief that it is in the highest interest of the New Zealand public to investigate and appeal potential miscarriages of justice wherever possible. In some countries, such as in England and Scotland, there are Criminal Cases Review Commissions whose role is to pursue these miscarriages and see that they are amended. While these organisations were created and funded by Acts of Parliament, no such Act exists here in New Zealand.  We see this as an important absence in our country's legal system, and so we decided to create one ourselves.  The New Zealand Public Interest Project was founded by a volunteer team that includes prominent lawyers, academics, investigators and forensic scientists, all of whom are committed to acting in the interest of the public. Prior to the launch of NZPIP, members of this team have been privately involved in public interest cases and potential miscarriages of justice such as those of Teina Pora, Michael October, Mark Lundy and David Bain. NZPIP is supported by the University of Canterbury School of Law, whose facilities help us to keep costs low. UC law students also play a key role in NZPIP, both as volunteers and working for course credit. Their involvement gives us the manpower to keep running on a day-to-day basis but also provides a great opportunity to develop. We take cases that we think are in the public good, whatever they may be. This includes appealing miscarriages of justice against individuals, but can also extend to civil matters where access to justice is inhibited or where there is a public interest which would not otherwise be  effectively served. This may consist of test cases or class actions where the rights of many citizens are affected, or cases where issues of considerable public interest are involved, such as human rights and freedom from discrimination, civil and political rights, or commercial or consumer matters where fundamental economic security are at risk including health, work, and accommodation."  For further information - including the impressive roster of volunteer participants  go to the following link;
See Jarrod Gilbert's story on how the group got off the ground - and the fascinating story of a man named "Michael October."