Criticism of defence lawyers unacceptable

There’s been some fair questions asked of Golriz Ghahraman over what was involved in her international work as a lawyer, and how that was described by her and by the Green Party.

And there has been a lot of over the top and at times ridiculous claims and accusations.

The Law Society has come out in defence of defence lawyers – criticism of what Ghahraman

 


Implied criticism of defence lawyers unacceptable

Implied criticism of defence lawyers unacceptable

The right to a lawyer is a fundamental part of our justice system and any criticism of lawyers for defending people charged with heinous crimes is not acceptable, the New Zealand Law Society says.

“The current comments on Green MP Golriz Ghahraman appear to be over her alleged failure to state that she had both defended and prosecuted people charged with war crimes,” Law Society President Kathryn Beck says.

“Some coverage has, however, also seemed to imply that there is something wrong in a lawyer acting for a person who is being tried for serious crimes.

“It is natural that people might be angry and distressed by such cases and the perpetrators, but it is totally wrong to identify the lawyer with the client’s actions.”

Defence lawyer and convenor of the Law Society’s Criminal Law Committee, Steve Bonnar QC, says there is often misunderstanding of the role of a lawyer.

“Our law requires lawyers to uphold the rule of law and to facilitate the administration of justice in New Zealand. The general rule is that lawyers must be available to act for the public and must not, without good cause, refuse to accept instructions from any client or prospective client for services within that lawyer’s fields of practice.

“Therefore, often a lawyer does not have a choice as to what cases to accept. The personal attributes of the prospective client and the merits of the matter upon which the lawyer is consulted are not considered good cause for refusing to accept instructions.”

Mr Bonnar says the rules of Conduct and Client Care which bind all lawyers say that as far as possible, the defence lawyer must protect the client from being convicted.

“The defence lawyer is required to put the prosecution to proof in obtaining a conviction, regardless of any personal belief or opinion of the lawyer as to the client’s guilt or innocence. It is not the role of the lawyer to determine a client’s guilt or innocence – that is the role of the Tribunal, Judge or jury hearing the case,” he says.

“New Zealand is fortunate to have a strong and dedicated community of lawyers who are available to defend anyone, no matter what they are accused of. It would be of great concern if the essential job they do came under attack.”

41 Comments

  1. Tipene

     /  November 29, 2017

    “We are Lawyers, so we are above scrutiny, and we now offer a straw-man argument in defence of one of our members who lied like a flatfish to the NZ public about her actual role as a scum legal intern acting for scum genocidal maniacs”.

    • duperez

       /  November 29, 2017

      “And you can put out as many rational statements about criticism of defence lawyers as you like but if we have made up our mind someone is scum, they are scum. Take your common sense statement and plea for sanity somewhere else.” ⚖

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  November 30, 2017

        Lawyers are dealing with the law, not with individuals’ characters-their job is to defend the client on legal grounds, not moral ones. If a client says to their lawyer :I dunnit-I’m guilty.’ the lawyer cannot, may not (in the sense of being permitted), must not then enter a plea of ‘not guilty’ on their behalf.

        While I might wish that someone hadn’t been a defense lawyer for a particular client,especially an abuser of human rights, I respect the idea that the client must have a fair trial, if only so that the (system, can’t think of a better word) can be seen to be above the level of the abuser and their regime. Someone has to be the defender. It would have been far better if GG had been honest about this-and, as it wasn’t made clear that she was an intern, that she hadn’t exaggerated her role in the prosecutions.

  2. Tipene

     /  November 29, 2017

    Oh, look at that – she’s offended.

    Then be offended!

  3. Tipene

     /  November 29, 2017

    And then her voice hits a high pitch – it’s hard to suck oxygen when you are lying through your teeth.

  4. Tipene

     /  November 29, 2017

    If you look closely, you can just make out the imprints of James Shaws arms hugging his (second) corpse in just two months.

  5. Tipene

     /  November 29, 2017

    Name-dropping all over the place – “see, if these people support me, then i MUST be innocent”.

    No [use proper names], that’s another logical fallacy (appealing to expertise of others).

  6. Tipene

     /  November 29, 2017

    “I can totally see how the photo of me with a genocidal enabler is jarring”……………yeah, but she cant remotely see that the majority of the public isn’t buying her “caped crusader” bullshit.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  November 30, 2017

      Yes, that photo was an incredibly stupid thing to have taken and then shown.

  7. Tipene

     /  November 29, 2017

    “No lawyer in NZ has anything apologize for” says [use proper names] in the last part of the interview.

    Wow………….get a Law Degree = assume mantle of infallibility.

  8. Tipene

     /  November 29, 2017

    And now the backstory about [use proper names] being bombed all the time is found to be wanting:

    http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2017/11/greens-mp-golriz-ghahraman-attacked-over-iraq-war-claims.html

    Now, let me get this straight: 2 wealthy and responsible parents send their child, on their school holidays, into a WAR ZONE?

    Going, going……………………

    • Blazer

       /  November 29, 2017

      thats what they did to..Prince Harry…he gunned down a few..shepherds.

  9. patupaiarehe

     /  November 29, 2017

    A perfect example, of what a complete fucking farce the ‘legal system’ is, in any country. Basically the argument being put forth, is that lawyers need not have moral standards.
    I recall a few years back, being instructed to do something that I not only knew was dangerous to myself & others, but was also illegal. I refused to do it, and was told if I didn’t, I would be fired. I told my boss that I needed half an hour to pack up my tools.

    • Corky

       /  November 29, 2017

      Did he pay you up to the time you left? Or did he say ”see you in court?”

      • patupaiarehe

         /  November 29, 2017

        Every cent I was owed, was in my bank account the following morning Corky. Funny that…. 😀

  10. Trevors_Elbow

     /  November 29, 2017

    So the reframing bs has been supported by the law society…. its not about being a defence lawyer… its about lying by omission to paint a false picture……

    Hmmm now I see why lawyers are upset… cherry picking facts to paint a picture and drive a narrative might not be an uncommon tactic in legal disputes….

    The lefts spin doctors and media friends have pushed the diversion button full force…

    • Blazer

       /  November 29, 2017

      speaking of diversions..have you seen the evidence that Key lied through his teeth about..mass surveillance…a real…story.

      • chrism56

         /  November 29, 2017

        [Deleted. Address issues, don’t target people here. PG]

        • Corky

           /  November 29, 2017

          [Deleted. Address issues, don’t target people here. PG]

          • patupaiarehe

             /  November 29, 2017

            If you want to be annoyed Corky, rest assured that those two aren’t the only ones who are up for the task… 😛

      • Trevors_Elbow

         /  November 30, 2017

        Trouble staying on topic blaze… your obession with key is somewhat pitiful…..Golriz is here and now. A member of the we know best Greens. And her back story seems a little bit leaky and evasive…. address the point at hand blaze

  11. Corky

     /  November 29, 2017

    I’m not fussy. I take on all comers. The only person who brings me out in a cold sweat is Kitty. If there’s one person who needs an appointment with Gareth Morgan, it’s her 😨

    • phantom snowflake

       /  November 29, 2017

      At least she’s not… Feral.

    • patupaiarehe

       /  November 29, 2017

      As she should, Corky…

      Gareth has nothing on our feline friend, except for larger ears, & a lisp 😀

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  November 30, 2017

        Excuse me, you lot, I am in the room, so to speak !!!

  12. Alan Wilkinson

     /  November 29, 2017

    Law Society stupidity. Apart from those who have been sent to prison, defence lawyers are beyond reproach. Politicians hiding inconvenient bits of their past, not so much.

  13. PartisanZ

     /  November 29, 2017

    A perfect example of how incredibly important the ‘legal system’ is, in any country. Basically the argument being supported is that the rule of law is beyond any lawyer’s individual moral standards. Prosecution and defense are equally engaged in putting a person’s on trial.

    Lawyers like Golriz Ghahraman voluntarily choose their profession knowing they might be placed in the ‘defense’ position. As she quite rightly says, “It’s about returning communities to a rule of law model … to a human rights model … Its about stopping the cycle of violence”

    Inspired by Nuremberg, where we said “We’re not going to sink to your level” …

    They’re media whores these people, like Duncan Garner and Jack Tame. Why aren’t we asking them about their ‘morals’?

    “I’m glad we’re having this conversation. We need to have conversations about what fair trials and justice mean to us” she says.

    Me too! Damn right.

    Like Tipene I am sweating a bit at the result of the poll – currently 60-40 against Golriz Ghahraman – but almost certainly for a different reason. Are the 60% anything like members of a mob that could be incited to commit … who knows what?

  14. patupaiarehe

     /  November 29, 2017

    [Deleted. As far as I’m aware that is covered by suppression so posting a link to it puts this site at risk. PG]

    • phantom snowflake

       /  November 29, 2017

      Hmmm am picking that comment might get cut on a couple of counts; the first being that “LF” have thrown all manner of shit at PG and one or two regular posters.

      • patupaiarehe

         /  November 29, 2017

        Maybe it will, but I suspect it won’t. Pete encourages healthy debate here. regardless of the source. Well that’s my understanding, anyway.

        [You should also understand that I strongly discourage posting anything that may put this site at legal risk. I’m very annoyed you have done that. I hope it was through stupidity rather than malice. PG]

        • phantom snowflake

           /  November 29, 2017

          I may be wrong but am under the impression that the LF article contains material which has been suppressed by NZ courts. GTG! L8R…

    • PartisanZ

       /  November 29, 2017

      Maybe just thank our lucky stars he lost his seat in Parliament and the opportunity to remove our ‘right to silence’ from common law? That’s what he was working on …

      Now, oddly, we have another politically inexperienced former cop installed as MP for Northland … Matt King.

      Possible reason alone to be thankful that Winston coalesced the way he did?

      “The Evidence Act 2006 explicitly prohibits the inference of guilt in a criminal proceeding from a defendant exercising their right to silence. At common law the leading case is Taylor v New Zealand Poultry Board where Justice Cooke held, “The starting point… [is], unless an Act of Parliament imposes or authorises the imposition of a duty to the contrary, every citizen has in general a right to refuse to answer questions from anyone, including an official.”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_silence#New_Zealand