MEDIAWATCH: The demonisation of defense lawyers


Interesting piece in the Herald about the backlash to defence lawyers

Samira Taghavi: Criminal defence lawyers – vilified yet vital

Last week, a very able and dedicated colleague, lawyer Nick Chisnall, appeared before the Supreme Court to successfully clear the name of wrongly-convicted “murderer” Alan Hall.

Hall served nearly 20 years in jail after police officers doctored and concealed evidence that pointed to Hall’s innocence. As Chisnall told the Herald, “To me, it’s an example of what is seldom proved; police altering evidence and the rules of disclosure to convict someone.”

The final achievement of some justice took 30-plus years of fighting – much of it done by defence lawyers.

Putting aside the forging of witness statements by police, the case was, as said, apparently one of intentional non-disclosure of exculpatory evidence – that is evidence that points to the defendant’s innocence – and evidence the police have a duty to disclose to defendants.

Samira Taghavi has led the move against woke restructuring of rape laws in NZ and speaks from a position of real insight between the Identitarian dogma and presumption of innocence.

In the new post MeToo cultural landscape, the evidential threshold is whatever a woman (whom you must believe) says on Twitter and due process is a heteronormative white cis male privilege. Taghavi however reminds everyone there is a price to this new woke kangaroo court…

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Suitable sentences have to be fought for as tenaciously as with a full trial – even guilty people need fair outcomes.

As do innocent people.

It is not just the big names such as Alan Hall, Teina Pora, David Dougherty, Aaron Farmer, Arthur Allan Thomas, et al, who are wrongly accused.

It happens regularly, particularly to the poor and ill-educated and often for prosaic reasons you might expect; witnesses can be honestly wrong (or actually dishonest), investigations can be inadequate and prosecutorial impressions can be ill-founded.

…the Sensible Sentencing Trust damaged the political debate on justice like no other movement.  By using the pain of victims, the SST forged a powerful nexus of power and media coverage while their ‘tough on crime’ rhetoric destroyed social policy.

The new woke Lynch mobs are causing the exact same ‘tough on crime’ rhetoric, just with less evidence.

As Stuff destroy Kamahl Santamaria, as Amber Heard’s trial goes down in flames and as Allan Hall gets found not guilty, Taghavi reminds us there are two sides to every story.

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  1. People used to like defence lawyers a lot more, but unfortunately a lot of defence lawyer time these days seems to be spent with morally repugnant people making money from crime and hurting others, while not defending those who are good people and need the help but they can’t virtue signal to the woke as much.

    (note the historic crimes where the police effectively locked innocent people away is not part of the trend I am talking about).

    The mall terrorist, drug smugglers, cigarette smugglers, money launderers (who the state largely protects), exploited worker employers, family abusers and then the surprise if it all turns to murder, are all people who seem to be getting positive media and legal help while attracting others to do the same crimes and eventually they become a decade plus long prison sentence and with many, many victims over the years.

    There is more media worry about the trivial (Santamaria) than serious crime these days and thus offenders doing small crimes quickly escalate into bigger crimes while still not much is done about it and before you know it a significant percentage of the population of NZ are doing casual crime escallating into serious crime and very visible social disarray – gun shootings, murder, ram raids, constant frauds and scams, many people working for cash or under minimum wage rates who can’t make ends meet or or set up to fail in NZ by not having many skills or speaking the language and turn to crime or become the victims of crime.

  2. We live in a time where the evedential threshold is making an accusation.
    Police have a great deal to answer for in this, often acting as (a)moral arbiters in deciding the guilt of men based on nothing more than a view (no physical evedence, no witnesses) Framed in this context once any innocent person is ensnared in this way, due process through the injustice system becomes absolutely critical.
    The fact is that people lie, often maliciously and with destructive intent.
    Lies have a way of gaining internal momentum, the more they are repeated the more opportunity there is to B-E-L-I-E-V-E…

    • indeed left accusation is not evidence…investigate every claim but a claim is a claim until actual evidence is produced.


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