Friday, 1 April 2011

Irony and the Court of Appeal

I think that humour is generally frowned on in court judgments, and Justice Kirby wrote a paper condemning the inappropriate use of humour and of anything but a dour commentary. The Court of Appeal has either offended against this deliberately by the use of irony (which I hope is the case) or, and I hope this is not the case, are grossly out of touch with reality. What attracted my attention was a sentencing decision relating to aggravated robberies in South Auckland. Apparently Judge Wade had, in sentencing decisions, made comments that there was altogether too much of this and the sentences should be increased. Following the lead on this, Judge Andree-Wiltons imposed a stiff sentence saying that this should be the policy.

The Court of Appeal then said in CA493/2010 Christofides v R COA   01 April 2011, that

 "We observe at the outset that Judge Wade appears to have intended his comments in Leatinuu to operate as a warning to persons who might be tempted to rob retail shops in South Auckland after 13 November 2009. The robbery for which Mr Christofides was to be sentenced had, however, been committed 18 months earlier. Mr Christofides therefore had no opportunity to reflect upon Judge Wade’s words before he decided to carry out the robbery of the Meadowlands Superette".

Res ipse loquitor

I am sure this sentencing deciison will be eagerly read in the Otara Shopping center as they plan their next robbery.

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