Judge Jock: Humming a Happy Tune as Flash Frank is questioned and Supreme Court gets it Right

A Jolly Judge Muses After Lunch In the Ladies & Escourts Lounge

Labouring under weeks of weighty evidence, droning submissions and trying to keep jurors awake, a weary Justice Can’t-Get-Much-Worse (93) tries his spidery hand at songwriting.

(Very loosely inspired by Snow White, William Blake, Mr J Cash, F Dagg, The Troggs, A.Nonymous, God Help NZ and Miss Eskimo Nell)

Hi Ho, Hi Ho…
It’s off to court I go…
I sit all day, while others play…
And jail and fine – the pleasure’s mine…
Hi Ho, Hi Ho, Hi Ho, Hi Ho…

“Hmmm…That one needs a bit of work…” mused His Honour.

“What’s going on here??? Who are this lot??? A Murder Jury??? Why were they not here this morning??? What do you mean I’m in the wrong court??? Judges are never in the wrong court…(Hic)…Get rid of this lot and leave me to liquidate a few more self-destroyed little businesses…Harrumph…”

“Let’s have another go…”

Three little hoods from Otara are…
One stole a Biro, two torched a car…
One pleaded guilty…
Got a sentence so piddly…
For grassing the other two up…

“That’s the story…”

Judge so kindly at your feet…
Daily lawyers squirm and bleat…
For your wisdom knows no bounds…
Court’s adjourned for two more rounds…
Bring the Tonic and more Beer…
There’s no place for Wowsers here…
Drag a stool up – Fill your Boots…
Grab the phone and call up Toots…

“Hmmm…Glad I found another word to rhyme with boots…

“This next one’s a bit tricky…Hang on…Look at the time…I’ll take the afternoon tea adjournment now, on your feet the lot of you…”

Bring me my gin of Bombay Blue…
Toss in a slice of lemon too…
Fire up the barbie…Chill the beer…
Is there a better spot than here???
And did the Justice Chief herself
Stride up and down in Vulcan Lane
While others cowered and shrank from view
Inside those dark and dingy caves…

“Hmmm…Getting there…”

Wild Judge, you threw my case out…
You made all my clients
Jailbirds…
Wild Judge, can I appeal you…
I wanna know for sure…
Misdirect, go all the way…
I dare you…

“It rocks…(Hic)”

I keep a close watch on this Court of mine
I keep my mouth wide open all the time
At bashing briefs I’m really in my prime
And for your crime, you’ll do the time…

I find it very hard not to laugh out loud
When I hear that defence I hit the ground
You are a fool to try that one on me
So for your crime, you’ll do the time…

“Now we’re cooking Judge Johnny…”

The Ballad of Dominion Finance
“Eenie, Meanie, Minie, Mo…two to free and one to go…”

(This is a work in progress)

Newsflash Update:
Auckland district law society president “Flash” Frank Godinet has been invited to say what happened to the society’s $1.65 million Constable Fund.

For those to young to know or befuddled to recall, the $1.65 million was an insurance payout ADLS scored in December 2010 in the wrap-up stages of a more than 20-year legal battle with Russell McVeagh over a society investigation into the law firm’s role in failed bloodstock syndicates.

In a bitter legal struggle which went all the way to the Privy Council, ADLS lost its campaign to prise open Russell McVeagh’s privileged legal secrets and had to pay whopping costs.

ADLS then went to war – and won – against its insurer D A Constable, which initially refused to pay out on ADLS’ indemnity insurance.

Mr Godinet’s explanation is eagerly awaited.

Something Serious for a Change

Judge Jock – along with most other New Zealanders, he reckons – is not surprised the Supreme Court wouldn’t have a bar of the guilty Urewera Four.

The court this week quite properly decided not to hear appeals sought against firearms charge convictions by Tame Iti, Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara, Urs Signer and Emily Bailey.

Yet still the bleating lawyers bleat on to anyone stupid enough to listen.

The Supreme Court made it clear it was not satisfied it was necessary in the interests of justice for it to hear and determine the proposed appeals.

The judges said none of the matters raised was, when properly analysed, of general or public importance – key requirements for appeals to the Supreme Court.

The judges also did not consider a substantial miscarriage of justice may occur if they did not hear the appeals – the final clincher.

As the court explained, the Crown case was that the four were members of a group engaged in military-style training with a view to furthering Tuhoe claims if violence was necessary.

[That claim has never been properly explained by the four in court because they lacked the courage to testify on oath in their own defence and be subject to cross-examination.

Instead, they and others of their following sought to justify their armed conduct through copious warped media coverage portraying them as “innocents abroad” simply larking about in the bush.

A jury was unable to reach a verdict on a charge relating to all four of participating in an organised criminal group and after the trial a stay of proceedings was entered on that charge.]

The Supreme Court said there was photographic evidence of what could fairly be regarded as group activity involving the use of weapons.

All four were photographed at one or more camps handling weapons.

All were found to be in possession of weapons at their places of occupation.

All of the four were acquitted on some charges.

The Supreme Court said acquittals coincided with either an absence of direct evidence that the particular person was present in the camp on the occasion charged and/or an absence of photographic evidence showing group activity with weapons.

The court said findings of guilt on the camp charges were made against a particular person “only where there was photographic evidence of him or her handling a weapon or there was evidence of his or her presence in the camp and photographic evidence of what could farily be regarded as group activity in relation to weapons”.

The court said guilty verdicts were returned only when he or she was shown to be in sole or shared possession of weapons.

Lawyers for the four were criticised by the Supreme Court for trying to raise matters at the 11th hour, which they failed to raise during the trial or at earlier appeals.

The four were found guilty of firearms charges in March last year.

Iti and Kemara were jailed for two and a half years. Signer and Bailey were sentenced to nine months' home detention. Their sentences have been served.

Judicial Guide to Getting Off Work Early – Step One:

“Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury…

As you can see the prisoner at the bar is a shifty piece of work and clearly guilty of everything he is accused of – and a damned sight more to boot, I’ll be bound… Off you go… See you in 10…

Madam Registrar, make sure the ice bucket is topped up, if you will… (Hic)”

janderson@nbr.co.nz