The new Criminal Cases Review Commission | Te Kāhui Tātari Ture (CCRC) has started work and can now independently investigate claimed miscarriages of justice.
"Even though we have appeal rights and safeguards against unsafe convictions, from time to time our justice system does get things wrong. The design of the CCRC is based on international best practice, and is an important safety valve against wrongful convictions," Justice Minister Andrew Little said.
"Anyone who believes they have been wrongly convicted or sentenced will be able to apply to the CCRC for a review of their case. Establishing the Commission was a commitment in the 2017 Labour-New Zealand First coalition agreement."
The CCRC is headed by Chief Commissioner Colin Carruthers QC. Mr Carruthers leads a Board made up of Deputy Chief Commissioner Paula Rose QSO OStJ, Kingi Snelgar, Tangi Utikere JP, Nigel Hampton CNZM OBE QC, Professor Tracey McIntosh (Ngāi Tahu) and Dr Virginia Hope MNZM.
It is based in Hamilton, which demonstrates the Commission's independence from the traditional government and judicial centres of Auckland and Wellington.
Waikato-Tainui has gifted the name Te Kāhui Tātari Ture to the CCRC, a name that speaks of the work it will do by referencing the law (ture), review (tātari) and a group (kāhui). A kāhui tātari was a particular group held in the ancient Whare Wānanga with a role in adapting procedures, processes and mātauranga.
"The Criminal Cases Review Commission | Te Kāhui Tātari Ture will enable our justice system to address concerns - expressed over a number of years - about the independence, timeliness, quality and fairness of investigations into claimed miscarriages of justice. The launch of the CCRC today is a significant milestone in New Zealand's justice system," Andrew Little said.