Bar Association says Sexual Violence Bill is Flawed

The New Zealand Bar Association remains concerned that some provisions of the Sexual Violence Bill before Parliament pose a risk to the right to a fair trial.

As an independent body within the legal profession, the NZBA has a role to ensure it supports the integrity of the justice system and the legal rights of all New Zealanders. The New Zealand Bar Association has made a submission to the Select Committee considering and commenting on the changes to the legislation.

Nicolette Levy QC, a member of the Bar Association’s Criminal Committee and presenter of its submission, says the matter is fundamentally important to the way the justice system works in New Zealand.

She says there should be no law changes that put at risk a person’s right to a fair trial.  “The NZBA absolutely supports legislation that can minimise distress caused to complainants through giving evidence in sexual violence cases. However, changes in the way evidence is presented in court cases should not mean a person’s right to a fair trial is compromised.”

The NZBA is primarily concerned with the practicalities and fairness of using pre-recorded cross examination of complainants as a standard procedure in cases of sexual violence.

Nicolette Levy QC
P 04 934 0772
M 021 684 959
E nl@nicolettelevy.co.nz

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