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Denigration of the Criminal Justice System: A reflection of the 1970s New Zealand courts through an analysis of the Arthur Allan Thomas trials

By Judy Chu


This paper is a critique of New Zealand’s criminal justice system as it existed in the 1970s. Through an analysis of the Arthur Allan Thomas trials, in which the courts failed to produce a just result, it will demonstrate how the system was crippled by three of its major components; the prosecution, the judiciary and the jury. While acknowledging the prominent roles played by the defence and the police in the Thomas case, they will not be the focus of this paper. After setting out the chronology of appeals and proceedings that lead up to Thomas’ royal pardon, this paper will go on to explain why the criminal justice system was ineffective. It will do so by unravelling the systematic bias and unethical practice that occurred within the prosecution and the judiciary. Lastly, it will illustrate the adverse effect such practices had on the impartiality of jurors

Topics: Arthur Allan Thomas, New Zealand criminal justice system, 1970s
Year: 2015
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