Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Bain case, another page turns.

From the time the previous Minister of Justice resigned from her role there seemed to be an inevitability that David Bain's application for wrongful imprisonment would revert to due process. Somehow the former Minister Judith Collins had taken on a role far beyond mandate. Most interestingly it now becomes plain that the Collins created a crisis where there was no need for one. She claimed that she couldn't put the Ian Binnie report in David Bain's application before Cabinet, that was absolute nonsense. Cabinet are not to be protected by a Minister confused about her role. Collins had taken the English Law back to pre Magna Carta days, she took the mantle of absolute ruler, overriding principles of Law that are centuries old. Due Process and fairness were right out the door, she even attacked her own messenger using the media to undermine him whilst at the same time sharing details of the application and its progress with everybody apart from the petitioner.

Of course Collins had already sharply dropped an arrangement between her predecessor and the Bain team, she refused to honour an agreement - and why? Well, for no known or acceptable reason because Due Process rules, as do undertakings by a Government even when personnel changes. We may hear more about those decisions one day although it seems unlikely because the details of a new agreement reached between the Government and David Bain are confidential. It is clear that David Bain has already put his case forward, one for which there now I even more supporting evidence so it can assumed that what must remain confidential is evidence that showed just how unfortunate the errors of judgement and machinations of the former Minister were.

On the one hand the news for David Bain is good, encouraging, and will undoubtedly be have more depth that what is been revealed. On the other hand the Country may well have benefitted by having the Courts considering the use and checks of Executive Power. I think that would have been a big part of the decision of the Government to compromise, that along with the recognition that the zealous former Minister had looked to take the Law back a 1000 years.

What is interesting now is how much of the deal will be revealed in subtle ways. It was fairly obvious that the last preliminary hearing of the JR had its details suppressed as the parties worked toward a resolution. That bargaining by necessary arrangement would have taken into account how strong the evidence was that Collins had acted maliciously, and how this Government would have been exposed by that. Whether the Fisher reports remains part of the consideration now, and if it does whether it is rightly used in the positive way the former Minister refused to acknowledge - its support that Binnie may well have reached the same conclusions even had he taken the route apparently preferred by Fisher.

One thing for sure is that Joe Karam and Michael Reed had a strong hand from which to negotiate, and an even stronger commitment to their cause. For them, from what can be seen between the lines, their case for Judicial Review was uncompromisingly strong due to the errant actions of Collins. She had given them all the power they needed to succeed in Court in an almost blind to reality  and arrogant fashion. It's no wonder there is an over riding feeling that Collins had lost the plot and was a threat not only to Due Process but to the current Government trying to move on from controversy she had in part heaped upon them.

I think it is fair to be encouraged that the Government has lined itself up with protocol, that a new Minister of Justice is at the helm with, what one can imagine, as a clear eye on process and fairness, not only that but also transparency of cause. It can be said the Collin's transparency was that she was happy to reveal her lack of Judgement, I doubt whether the new Minister or others in the future will observe that the Collins protocol is one worth following.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year from way down under.

A thought for the first day of the new year: 'don't dwell on things that make people seem different or foreign but rather feel the freedom of thinking about the things that make us all the same.'

Happy New Year and Cheers.