NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand

Communication to the Government

124. On 11 November 1998, the Special Rapporteur sent a letter to the Government concerning the case of Mr. Moti Singh and the conduct of Judge Bouchier of the Otahuhu District Court in the adjudication of that case. Allegedly, Mr. Singh had lodged a criminal complaint against a third party, who was accused of theft. The police investigation initially determined that there were sufficient grounds for proceeding with the prosecution on 6 July 1996; however, after certain specific comments made by Judge Bouchier, the police decided not to proceed with the prosecution on 4 December 1996. Reportedly, Judge Bouchier made comments, in private and in public, that resulted in the police decision not to prosecute. Of particular concern is the allegation that the Judge made these comments without considering the facts of the case. Supposedly, her conclusions were based solely on her prior experiences with Mr. Singh, when he had appeared as a defendant in her court. After an investigation by Judge R.L. Young, the Chief Judge of the District Court, Judge Bouchier was not formally reprimanded (although she did express regret at making those comments and provided an apology for any embarrassment that may have resulted). Judge Young indicated that although the criminal complaint had been dropped, Mr. Singh could still seek compensation through the exercise of his civil rights.

Observations

125. The Special Rapporteur awaits a response from the Government.