This project was part of a continuing reference to the Commission to review the law governing procedure in criminal cases.
This project examined the law, structures and practices governing procedure in criminal cases from the time an offence is suspected to have been committed until an offender is convicted.
Terms of reference
The following are the terms of reference for a series of projects on criminal procedure, of which this project is one.
The Law Commission’s reference on criminal procedure has the following purposes:
(1) To ensure that the law relating to criminal investigations and procedures conforms to the obligations of New Zealand under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.
(2) To devise a system of criminal procedure for New Zealand that will ensure the fair trial of persons accused of offences, protect the rights and freedoms of all persons suspected or accused of offences, and provide effective and efficient procedures for the investigation and prosecution of offences and the hearing of criminal cases.
With these purposes in mind the Law Commission is asked to examine the law, structures and practices governing the procedure in criminal cases from the time an offence is suspected to have been committed until the offender is convicted, including but not limited to
• powers of entry, search and arrest,
• diversion—principles and procedures,
• decisions to prosecute and by whom they should be made,
• the rights of suspects and police powers in relation to suspects,
• the division of offences into summary and indictable offences,
• preliminary hearings and criminal discovery,
• onus of proof,
• evidence in sexual and child abuse and other special cases,
• payment of costs to acquitted persons, and to make recommendations accordingly.
The criminal procedure reference may be read together with the evidence reference, the purpose of which is:
To make the law of evidence as clear, simple and accessible as practicable, and to facilitate the fair, just and speedy judicial resolution of disputes.
With this purpose in mind the Law Commission is asked to examine the statutory and common law governing evidence in proceedings before courts and tribunals and make recommendations for its reform with a view to codification.
The Prosecution of Offences (NZLC PP12, 1990)
The Commission's Preliminary Paper, The Prosecution of Offences (NZLC PP12, 1990).
Criminal Prosecution (NZLC PP28, 1997)
The Commission's Preliminary Paper, Criminal Prosecution (NZLC PP28, 1997).
Criminal Prosecution (NZLC R66, 2000)
The Commission's Report, Criminal Prosecution (NZLC R66, 2000)
Recommendations were reflected in the amendments contained in the Criminal Procedure Bill 2004 – assent given June 2008, split between several statutes.
There was no requirement for the Government to present a formal response to Commission reports before April 2009.