Judge Jock: Who Pays This Piper, Judicial Hypnotics, Pondering the Privy

Who pays for this wee money-go-round???

Justice Minister Judith Collins promises extra support for victims of serious crime funded by the victims’ offender levy.

What is the victims’ offender levy, you ask???

Apparently it is a $50 levy imposed on all offenders at the point of sentencing and contributes to support service for victims of crime.

According to Miss Collins, more than 4000 serious crime victims have received support through this levy since it was introduced in 2009.

But how is it paid, Judge Jock wanted to know???

Given that many criminals are on unemployment or sickness benefits or a variety of other generous taxpayer subsidised handouts, where does the $50 come from???

Does it come from their benefits??? In which case it is simply being recycled to pay taxpayer money to victims and is no hardship to a criminal.

Or does it come from the criminal’s own personal cash – not provided, subsidised or topped up by the taxpayer – in which case it will hurt.

Wouldn’t we all like to know???

Justice minister Collins has yet to answer Judge Jock’s simple question on this one.

Look into my eyes, look into my eyes

A thoughtful article in a recent issue of NZLawyer offers advice on how to deal with a topic which around the nation’s robing rooms dare not speak its name – lawyer insomnia.

Judge Jock presumes this is aimed at lawyers because not many bus drivers read NZLawyer.

Amid a host of insomnia-beating “sleep hygiene” tips such as not drinking too much coffee, booze or gorging on lark’s tongues before turning in; taking a warm bath, turning off the telly early and doing something boring if you can’t sleep, comes a reference to “hypnotics”.

It’s a reference to sleeping pills – known as hypnotics.

What the article’s author is clearly unaware of is a pilot programme which has been operating quietly and largely unobserved in the High Court and Court of Appeal for several years.

Judges have long put themselves into self-induced hypnotic trances in order to survive endless days of dozy diatribe from the likes of Learned Friends Slow and Drone.

Judges participating in the programme punctuate such trials with pre-conditioned remarks such as: “What are you talking about??? Speak up, can’t you??? Will you be much longer??? Is there a point somewhere you are planning to get to??? When will your client see sense and plead guilty??? Isn’t it lunchtime yet???”

All of which reminds the chaps at the Ladies & Escorts Lounge of this wee tune…

“I was drivin’ home one Friday evening
Through Parnell
Listening to Geoffrey Palmer on the all-night radio show
And the Wise One said: “You know you always have the law by your side.”
And I was so pleased to be informed of this
That I threw away trite submissions in his honour
Thank you Geoffrey, thank you Lord…

I had an arrangement to meet a Judge, and I was kind of late
And I thought by the time I got there she’d be off
She’d be off with the nearest car-booter she could find
Much to my surprise there she was sittin’ in a corner
Like Eb Leary, worse for wear and tear
Was a Judge with far-away eyes

So if you’re down on your luck and your case don’t harmonize
Find a Judge with far-away eyes
And if you’re downright disgusted
And your client ain’t worth a dime
Get a Judge with far-away eyes…”

“That is quite enough of that,” hollered Our Man At The Bar, quaffing his jug of apricot-flavoured wheat beer.

(A slightly catchier version of the above tune is performed on Facebook by Messrs Jagger, Richards, Watts, Wyman and Wood)

Who will rid us of this troublesome Rt Hon???

That hoary old enfant terrible Rupert Alister Halls Taylor (remember Little Red Schoolbook and other unspeakable titles?), distinguished ex-editor of the New Zealand Roll of Honour, reminded Judge Jock of something most other folk have overlooked when gossiping about lawyer, ex-National justice minister and convicted Lombard chairman Sir Douglas Arthur Montrose Graham.

The popular chattering focus has been on whether Doug is stripped of, or surrenders, his knighthood – a traumatic quandary yet to be settled.

Mr Taylor (70-ish) says it is of greater significance that Doug was made a member of the Privy Council in 1998.

He says the Privy Council is a highly esteemed honour among politicians.

“The Council theoretically advises the Queen. However, it is more honour than substance,” says Mr Taylor, who questions whether it is appropriate for a convicted Right Honourable such as Doug to remain as a member.

Mr Taylor says there is an easy way out for the government: “Strip Doug Graham of his Right Honourable but allow him to retain his knighthood.”

He says fellow convicted Lombard co-offender Bill Jeffries, as an ex-Labour cabinet minister, is also entitled to be called “honourable” for life. He says “honourable”is defined by the OED as “implying respect; deserving, bringing or showing honour”.

A third convicted Lombard offender, Lawrie Bryant (father of senior minister Gerry Brownlee’s spin doctor Nicholas Bryant, who in turn is Doug Graham’s god son), holds the highly-ranked honour of Lieutenant of the Victoria Order, given to him by the Queen in 1974 for his service to her as an assistant press secretary.

Mr Taylor’s point is that the government can strip anyone of even the lowest form of honour – reminding Judge Jock that a highly-placed Upper Hutt youth leader convicted of indecent assault on a boy was stripped of his appointment as a Justice of the Peace in 1993.

He says folk would do well to remember a quotation most related to the awarding of honours, which is: “Virtue is the fount whence honour springs” – from Tamburlaine the Great by Christopher Marlow (1564-93).

NB: The photograph used above is credited Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Marti Friedlander, with assistance from the Elise Mourant Bequest, 2001

Newsflash: Read NBR ONLINE for Lombard 4 Supreme Court bid.

Deborah Chambers Speaks

The following statement is from Queen’s counsel Deborah Chambers (nee Hollings), wife of the late Justice Sir Robert Chambers:

“It is of some comfort that Robert knew of his pending knighthood before his tragic unexpected death.

I am grateful to the Prime Minister and the Governor-General for arranging for Rob’s honour to be backdated to 20 May 2013.

It was lovely to be able to recognise the knighthood at his funeral.

We both recognised that the knighthood was acknowledgment of his work as a Supreme Court judge. Like other judges, he achieved his position of Supreme Court judge as a result of years of dedicated public service to New Zealanders.

He was delighted to receive the public affirmation that a knighthood confers.

Our family is very proud of Rob and Rob was very proud to serve New Zealand.”

How Lawyers Can Beat Insomnia  Tip One

Charge more.

janderson@nbr.co.nz