Military Justice Legislation Amendment Bill- First Reading – Video 1
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Military Justice Legislation Amendment Bill- First Reading – Video 1


and at the time no the time for the National Party’s run out of supplementary I caught the concludes oral questions I call on government order of the day number one Military Justice legislation amendment bill first reading speaker the Honorable Ranma speak I move that the Military Justice legislation amendment bill be now read a first time at the appropriate time I intend to move that the bill be referred to the Foreign Affairs defense and trade Select Committee for consideration the speaker this bill introduces new elements of fairness and equity to the military justice system by amending the Armed Forces discipline Act 1971 the courts martial act 2007 and the court-martial Appeals act of 1953 these elements will bring the military justice system closer in line with the broader criminal justice system including by enhancing victims rights as a matter of principle the government believes that the military justice system should grant to our Armed Forces personnel the same rights enjoyed by civilians in the criminal justice system to the greatest extent possible consistent with the efficient and disciplined operation of the Armed Forces while the military justice system is and must remain separate from the criminal justice system due to the unique nature of the work risks expectations and discipline imposing on serving members it is prudent to review and update the system as necessary to ensure that those operating under the system retain the right to a fair trial and are respected throughout the judicial process this includes both those who are accused and the victims of crimes between 2002 and 2006 during the fifth Labour government the New Zealand Defence Force undertook a major review of the military justice system to bring it into the 21st century and to increase both its robustness and its fairness this review culminated in a series of legislation which came into force in 2009 the Armed Forces discipline amendment number 2 2007 the court-martial Act 2007 the court-martial Appeals Amendment Act 2007 and defense Act number 2 2007 since 2009 it has become apparent that further changes should be introduced where transparency efficiency and consistency with the civil civilian criminal justice system could be enhanced this bill was developed and introduced under the previous government on the 15th of August 2017 the bill makes legislative amendments and the following four areas of military justice system victims rights notice of judicial appointments court-martial procedure onus of proof and in the area of victims rights the bill confers the same rights to military victims of serious offenses of sexual or violent nature to those rights they would receive in the civilian criminal justice system as victims of the same crime under the victims Rights Act 2002 this includes the right for the victim to be kept informed and consulted on in respective decisions such as the granting of bail to the perpetrator it will mean that the director of military prosecutions will make all reasonable efforts to ascertain and provide the victims perspective before any decision on bail is made and informing the victim of any changes to bail terms and of the impending or permanent release of the prisoner this change must be made to ensure equality of justice for those victims of serious crimes that take place under military service it adapts the current system to the modern world and to the high expectations we rightfully have for the treatment of the victims of serious crime the New Zealand Defence Force is currently undertaking a significant program of education standard setting and zero-tolerance approach around an appropriate and harmful sexual behavior called Operation respect this law change is part of operationalization whereas a tional isin this culture change for the victims of such offences it’s about walking the walk not just talking the talk in the area of giving of notice of judicial appointments the bill removes an unnecessary and inefficient process step contained in the court martial act 2007 the Act currently requires the Chief of Defence Force to arrange for a notice of any judicial appointments to the court-martial to be published in The Gazette notice of the judicial appointment to any other court and the civil criminal justice system has published in The Gazette on behalf of the person appointing the judge without need for such a provision in the area of court-martial procedure the bill aligns the provisions governing whither and accuses unfit to stand trial with those provisions in the civilian system in particular those in the Criminal Procedure mentally impaired persons Act 2003 the current situation is not fair and it does not reflect equal justice under law and that mentally impaired people subject to the – military justice system are not afforded the same rights as those who would be subject to civil law in particular an area of particular importance to those serving in uniform is that this will also include such mental disorders that have developed as a result of their service such as pts or post traumatic stress injury post-traumatic stress disorder the bill gives powers to the director of military prosecutions or the prosecutor to object– to the assignment of a particularly particular military member to the court-martial this is important for there could be an appropriate relationship between members of the court-martial and the accused such as a conflict of interest or a personal relationship without this change there is potential for a miscarriage of justice to occur under the court-martial Act 2007 a substitute military member can be assigned to the court-martial when a military member is not able to carry out their duties this bill amends the to provide that a substitute military member cannot be assigned after the accused has entered a plea without this amendment a substitute member of a court-martial can currently enter a trial midway through having without having had without having heard the preceding evidence or reviewing witnesses finally the bill makes a significant change to the onus of proof within the military justice system currently members of the Armed Forces accused of a charge must prove on balance of probabilities any excuse exception exemption or qualification they use as a defense to the charge this is fundamentally unfair and unequal with the criminal justice system which places the onus of proof squarely on the prosecution ensuring that our military justice system abides by the principle of innocent until proven guilty is essential to ensure that those who serve are not legally disadvantaged because of their place of employment to conclude I believe this bill is a welcome and a necessary update to our military justice system which will bring it further in line with the civilian criminal justice system by enshrining into law commitments to fairness equity of treatment respect and care for victims and efficient due process may I thank the previous ministers of defense from the previous government acknowledged the Honorable Mark Mitchell who were in office at the time of the development of this bill from 2016 to 2017 the Honorable Gerry Brownlee for their work and their diligence honest man can I also thank the defense force staff who were involved in the preparation of this bill in partnership with the ministry of justice and the chief judge of the court-martial and also those who were consulted on the policy underpinning the bill including the New Zealand law society and victim support incorporated I welcome the opportunity to test the policy behind the bill through the Select Committee process and I would certainly say that having been mayor conclude by saying having been a member of the Armed Forces and on both ends of the military justice system and these are welcome changes I would anticipate and it will actually go some way to dismantling getting rid of an attitude that was often referred to when young men and woman were marched into the orderly room the one word I won’t use in the house but was often described or heard or evidenced by the phrase March in the guilty person mister madam Speaker I commend this bill to the house I called Mack Mitchell thank you madam Speaker it’s a it’s a pleasure to take a call on

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