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Parliamentary Reporter. WELLINGTON, this day. The Criminal Appeal Bill, . introduced in the House of Representatives yesterday afternoon, will bring the New Zealand law on the subject of criminal appeals into line with the English law.

This was explained by the Attor-ney-General Mr. Mason, who said that for 30 years the right of appeal in criminal cases in the Dominion had been more r&stricted than in England. The proposed legislation would not take away any existing rights, but would enlarge the authority of the Court of Appeal on this subject. For instance, if the judge in New Zealand overlooked a rule of practice which did not amount to a rule of law, there was no right of appeal. This position could arise where a judge did not warn a jury that it should be careful in convicting if there was no corroborative evidence.

The bill, which was read a first time, provides that an appeal may be made within ten days of a conviction on the grounds of law alone, or a question of fact or a mixture of fact and law. If the Court of Appeal finds that, the jury could have found the appellant guilty of an offence other than that on which he was convicted, it may substitute for the verdict found by the jury a verdict of guilty on the other offence, and pass sentence thereon, though not one of greater severity. If the Appeal Court finds that the appellant was insane at "the time of the offence, it is empowered to order his confinement in an institution at the discretion of the Minister of Justice, in the same manner as if the accused had been acquitted on the ground of insanity.

In the hearing of an appeal the Court may require the production of the judge's notes and any other evidence of what took place at the trial. It may also order the production of any relevant document, and call witnesses who would have been callable at the trial, whether or not they were then called. It may also appoint any person with specialised knowledge to act as an assessor to examine accounts or make scientific or local investigation. Legal assistance may be granted an appellant without means and the appellant has a right to be present.

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Bibliographic details

CRIMINAL CASES, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 170, 20 July 1945

Word Count

CRIMINAL CASES Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 170, 20 July 1945

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