Today is the International Day of the Disappeared - where is the Panchen Lama of Tibet? Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, was kidnapped by the Chinese authorities at the age of six (!!), shortly after he was recognised as Panchen Lama by H.H. the Dalai Lama. After the real Panchen Lama disappeared, the Chinese appointed their own Panchen Lama, a puppet of the government.
This is as good a spot as any to remember this letter from Vince Seimer, who, like me, has "Disappeared" from time to time in the course of seeking justice and truth, the original, and the rest of the story, can be found at kiwisfirst.com, at least we reappeared eventually. Spare a thought today for those who've disappeared, and write to the Chinese embassy and ask them where is the Panchen Lama? Many thanks to all who rang and wrote asking "Where is Kate Raue?" when I disappeared, if we don't speak up for others, who's going to speak up for us?
Mr David Gasciogne ** Please treat as URGENT **
Office of the Judicial Conduct Commissioner
P.O. Box 2661
WELLINGTON posted and faxed to 04 4726159
RE: Formal complaint against Winkelmann J
Dear Mr Commisioner,
I wish by this letter to file a formal complaint against Justice Helen Winkelmann of the Auckland High Court for misconduct on the bench in R v Bailey CRI 2007-085-7842.
On 9 December 2010, Justice Winkelmann issued a judgment in public court which prevented the numerous defendants in the above action their statutory right to trial by jury. Justice Winkelmann stated in her ruling denying the statutory right to trial by jury was, in part, because a jury would use “improper reasoning processes” in making a determination of guilt or innocence.
This is extremely insulting to the people of New Zealand who would be called upon to fulfill their civic duty as jurors in the case. Moreover, it is simply absurd. Any jury would be limited to making only factual determinations, constrained in every other respect by the directions of the Crown judge in this Crown prosecution which is currently the object of a United Nations Human Rights Council formal complaint.
This dreadful insult to the New Zealand public is only offered as relevant background. It is not the crux of this complaint. These surrounding facts merely suggest possible motivation behind Justice Winkelmann’s judicial misconduct outlined below.
My complaint is that:
As an unelected public servant, Justice Winkelmann’s discretion in suppressing the public’s fundamental legal and democratic right to know what is occurring in the New Zealand public courts must be based upon some premise. This could ostensibly include the judge claiming Cleopatra came and spoke to her in her sleep - - but, whatever the justification for subverting the accepted norm that public court proceedings are to be public, the judge must state her reasoning.
It is incumbent upon any judge who professes to subvert the fundamental precept of open and transparent justice in such a fashion to state it directly in her order. Justice Winkelmann did not do this. She did the equivalent of a “post-it” note, essentially tagging the cover page with a rubber stamp to keep the order secret.
Every lawyer I have spoken to – and, I stress “every” lawyer – is at a loss as to any legitimate legal basis upon which Justice Winkelmann could rely in violating her public duty by keeping her ruling denying trial by jury in the most expensive and broad-ranging prosecution in New Zealand’s history secret.
Winkelmann J has refused to provide her reasoning for making important judicial rulings in contravention of the legal principles of every law-respecting democracy and United Nations Convention. More importantly, she has done so in a case which even Ross Burns, acting for the Crown, has stated in a 16 December 2010 email to the Court “I intend to apply for orders rescinding the suppression orders in the New Year.” Mr Burns further stated at the time “It seems to me that the decisions as to mode and location of trial cannot possibly prejudice the fair trial rights of the accused, and are a matter of genuine public interest.” (text of this 16 December 2010 email is attached).
Particularly under these circumstances, unless Winkelmann J states what her reasoning was in preventing the public’s legal right to know about the effect of her 9 December 2010 ruling, the Judge has committed an egregious act of judicial misconduct. When the Judge gives her reply to this aspect of my complaint, I will respond as appropriate.
The grave significance of Winkelmann J’s alleged misconduct detailed above cannot be overstated. I am currently being prosecuted by the State for merely fulfilling my public duty of reporting on this public court ruling as the publisher of the legal news website www.kiwisfirst.co.nz. The State is seeking my imprisonment because Winkelmann J wants to subvert her public duty by keeping her public servant actions secret, and to do so with “off record” rubber-stamp efficiency.
27 Clansman Terrace
Gulf Harbour 0930