New Zealand must change law to compensate those wrongly detained, UN says
The unwarranted detention of a Wellington woman led a UN committee to say New Zealand needed a law change.
New Zealand must change its law to ensure adequate compensation for anyone wrongly detained, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has said.
The unanimous decision follows the case of Wellington’s wife Camille Iriana Thompson after her wrongful arrest and 15 hours in detention in July 2012.
A district court judge issued an arrest warrant for Thompson, ruling that she had cases pending in court and had not turned up. In fact, his cases had been processed the week before.
Thompson sought compensation for his wrongful detention, but to no avail. She had spent more than 15 hours in police custody.
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In May 2016, the Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal against the High Court’s refusal to compensate his wrongful arrest and subsequent detention.
The Court of Appeal ruled his arrest illegal and contrary to the Bill of Rights, but a Supreme Court ruling in an earlier case, which set a precedent, meant that they could not award him the compensation that the three judges thought she deserved.
Wellington human rights lawyer Douglas Ewen filed Thompson’s case with the UN in 2017, under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The UN committee issued its decision on the case on Friday, ruling that New Zealand should compensate Thompson.
As part of its unanimous decision, the committee said New Zealand must also enact a change in the law to ensure access to compensation for all cases of wrongful detention, regardless of the cause or cause.
“In cases where an error by the judicial branch of government results in unlawful or arbitrary arrest or detention, compensation for the victim should not undermine the independence of the judiciary, but rather should enhance accountability and accountability. confidence in justice by providing redress for a wrong, ”said the UN. the committee said in its decision.
Ewen said the decision has been a long time coming, and said he will now approach the Department of Justice and the Attorney General’s office to negotiate a resolution of Thompson’s claim.
According to the committee’s decision, New Zealand has six months to provide the UN with its proposals to give effect to its decision.
Human rights lawyer Tony Ellis, who has already won four cases before the UN Human Rights Committee, said the decision was a “significant victory for the little player” and that Ewen should be applauded for taking the case.
The Justice Department referred its comments to Justice Minister Kris Faafoi, who said the government was aware of the UN Human Rights Committee case. The government had 180 days to respond and would carefully consider the situation before doing so, he said.