Marie Dyhrberg
Barrister

PO Box 47867, Ponsonby,
Auckland, New Zealand

Email: maried@mariedyhrberg.co.nz
Tel: +64 9 360 4550 Fax: +64 9 360 8434

Papers & Articles

Barriers to Defence Access to Witnesses for the Prosecution – An Antipodean Perspective

The article presents a summary of legislative and practical barriers that New Zealand defence lawyers face in gaining access to witnesses for the prosecution. The right to confront one’s accuser, almost absolute in the United States, is more readily curtailed in New Zealand (and other countries), and in particular, the actual or perceived threat of terrorism has seen the New Zealand Government, like many of its overseas counterparts, erect further barriers presenting a unique set of challenges to defence lawyers and others.

Rights of Grandparents

New Zealand is a small multicultural South Pacific nation of four million people. The population is made up of approximately 15% Maori3, the indigenous Polynesian population who settled New Zealand or “Aotearoa” more than a 1000 years ago, a largely British group of colonists of Caucasian origins who first arrived in the early 1800s of approximately 76% (‘Pakeha’), and Polynesian neighbours, who immigrated in the mid 1900s of approximately 5%, whose family and kinship patterns are aligned closely with that of Maori.

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Are Lawyers Losing Out?

It was a real bone of contention for the former members of the Legal Aid Board that, while they were being held accountable by the government for the distribution and use of the funds made available for criminal legal aid, they had little or no control over a significant portion of the legal aid grants that were being made in the first place.

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Child Sex Abuse : The New Zealand Perspective

Although we cannot present with total certainty exact statistics for sexual abuse of children in each of our different jurisdictions, what is apparent within New Zealand is that there is an increase in the number of reports of child sexual abuse. This is evident by the increasing number of proceedings in both the Criminal and Family Courts.

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Legal Representation

In fairness to counsel appearing in that Court, these difficulties are not unique to them. They reflect a growing national concern that there has been a decline in the quality of representation provided by criminal lawyers. This problem will not be solved unless constructive measures are put in place to educate and train lawyers working in courtrooms.

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Majority Verdicts: Are we all for it?

There is nothing that matches that moment of nervous anticipation when the jury returns to deliver their verdict. Even when the trial has gone well, you still have a kernel of fear. If the trial has gone badly, even when the trial has gone very badly indeed and you are braced for the verdict, there is still a kernel of hope in your heart. Will they say “Guilty”, or “Not Guilty” or “We can't agree / We don't know”? No matter what has gone on during the trial, there is still a possibility of surprise with the jury's verdict. No one can honestly say they know what a jury will decide.

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Capital Punishment - An Option for New Zealand?

In April 1999, the United Nations Human Rights Commission passed the “Resolution Supporting Worldwide Moratorium on Executions” which calls on countries that have not abolished the death penalty to restrict its use. Ten countries, including the US, China, Pakistan, Rwanda and Sudan, voted against the resolution.

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Informants: Finding the Truth Beneath Self-Interest

Informants are a necessary evil who must be dealt with in an open way in the judicial system - and not with secrecy, says Auckland barrister, Marie Dyhrberg*.

Informants are as necessary to our judicial system as any other witness who can tell us what actually happened. However, in New Zealand and elsewhere, the current rules dealing with the treatment of informants are unsatisfactory and there is a need for a legislative framework to clarify the situation.

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The War on Terror vs The Rule of Law - A Matter of Human Rights and Justice for All

It is trite to say the events of 11 September 2001 had an impact far beyond the immediate and devastating destruction inflicted on the primary targets of the alleged terrorists.

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Intercountry Adoption - Pacific Rim Adoption

Since New Zealand was colonised by English settlers more than two hundred years ago, the impact on Maori, as the indigenous people, has been immense and all encompassing. Laws the English imported and adopted have effectively subjugated most Maori customary practices.

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