New Zealand Law Society - Crown Law focus on support for Māori prosecutors

Crown Law focus on support for Māori prosecutors

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The Crown Law Office is assisting all Crown solicitors to increase their commitment to te reo Māori and tikanga, and is particularly focusing on increasing its support for Māori prosecutors, Parliament's Justice and Electoral Commitee has heard.

In its report on the 2017/18 Estimates for Vote Attorney-General and Vote Parliamentary Counsel, the committee says creating strong support networks for Māori prosecutors and aspiring judges is critical for creating trust in the justice system, and it will monitor progress in this area.

In the hearing on its estimates the committee asked Solicitor-General Una Jagose whether Crown Law had any specific work programmes to determine the effect of racial bias on Crown Law's prosecutions.

"We drew the case of Thomas Tawha to the Solicitor-General's attention and noted that the sentence in this particular case had raised concerns [Tawha v Fish & Game New Zealand [2015] NZHC 1119]," the committee report says.

"The Solicitor-General acknowledged that part of her role is to engage with the public about how the justice system works so that more New Zealanders understand the judicial process. She said that this is part of her work programme and considers it essential to reduce cynicism about the system.

"However, the Solicitor-General noted that she could not comment on individual judgments because they are at the discretion of the judiciary. We agree that work to help the public understand the judicial process is important, and we look forward to Crown Law's efforts in this area."