Sunday, March 24, 2024

Bob Edlin: The '"mana" card

No, he wasn’t joshing when he played the “mana” card – and in the High Court it came up trumps with Justice Andrew

A High Court judge has decided miscreants who have mana – or who claim to have mana – should be treated differently from miscreants who have none.

It’s a ruling that suggests indigenous law-breakers have a better chance of securing a discharge without conviction than non-Maori, if they draw a judge’s attention to the likely bruising of their reputations and prestige if they are found guilty and penalised.

Perhaps this aims to address the awful statistics that show a much higher percentage of Maori in our prisons than non-Maori.

But judges would be hard pressed to get some measure of the mana that would be bruised, because “mana” is as hard to gauge as “mauri”. They must take the word of the defendant or the defendant’s supporters.

The dictionary consulted by Point of Order says:

Mana: (noun) prestige, authority, control, power, influence, status, spiritual power, charisma – mana is a supernatural force in a person, place or object. Mana goes hand in hand with tapu, one affecting the other. The more prestigious the event, person or object, the more it is surrounded by tapu and mana.

The bloke whose mana won him a favourable judgement in the High Court is Joshua Green, a name which suggests there might be some non-Maori blood in there somewhere. He is also known as Joshua Turner,

He had been convicted and fined for obstructing a police officer while at a crash scene on the Napier-Taupō Road.

But he was having none of that and lodged an appeal against the conviction

The appeal was allowed by the High Court, where Green was discharged without conviction because – yep, here it comes – the judge found a conviction would have a significant impact on the appellant’s mana.

In its report on the case, Stuff says Green was convicted last year of obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duty, after being found guilty in a judge-alone trial before Judge Greg Hollister-Jones. He was fined $500.

The offending occurred on the morning of August 30, 2022. Green, 50, was the director of a logging company and arrived at the scene of a crash on the Napier-Taupō road, SH5, where one of the company’s logging trucks had collided with a ute.

Green was a close friend of the driver of the truck and went looking for him.

Judge Hollister-Jones said Green began wandering around the crash scene, and walked up to the ute to take photos while one of its occupants was nearby being treated by paramedics.

The crash happened on the Napier-Taupo Road (SH5) on the morning of August 30 in 2022.

A senior constable at the crash scene instructed Green not to wander across the scene and told him to stay where he was. Judge Hollister-Jones said Green was not concerned about whether his actions hindered police in doing their job as long as he could do what he felt he needed to do.

A Newshub report provides more information:

A Senior Constable was the first police officer on the scene at about 6:15am, the decision said.

“At some point between 6:45 am and 7:15 am, Mr Green drove into the centre of the crash scene, parking directly behind a fire truck. Judge Hollister-Jones held that Mr Green ‘inserted himself’ into the crash scene at an early stage.

“Shortly after he arrived at the scene, Mr Green saw that his logging truck, driven by a company employee… was overturned. Mr Green has a very significant personal connection with Mr Murray – Mr Murray’s parents were good friends of Mr Green’s and they tragically died in a similar road accident.

“Mr Green subsequently began taking photos of the crashed utility vehicle and the surrounding crash scene.”

Judge Hollister-Jones said Green’s actions were “directly contrary” to the direction given by the senior constable at the scene, according to the decision. That was of “serious concern” to the officer.

“In acting contrary to that direction”, Judge Hollister-Jones concluded Green made the officer’s job more difficult and “thereby obstructed him”, the decision said.

Green launched an appeal against his conviction, contending the judge erred –
  • in finding he obstructed the officer; and
  • in concluding the impact on his mana was a typical outcome of a conviction.
Justice Peter Andrew, who heard the case at the High Court in Rotorua last month, rejected the first ground of appeal.

He said there was “a proper evidential foundation for that determination and Green had failed to establish any miscarriage of justice”.

“The critical issue to address is whether the Judge was in error and a miscarriage of justice occurred because he found that the effect on Mr Green’s mana was simply ‘an ordinary consequence’ of conviction,” Justice Andrew said in the decision.

Fascinating. Mana becomes big deal in deciding how you will be treated by a judge – or, at least, by Justice Peter Andrew.

The decision noted that John Bishara, chair of the Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board and chief executive officer of the Lake Taupō Forest Trust, described Green in an affidavit as a ‘great leader in our community.'”

Green had also expressed “genuine remorse for his offending, which is a significant mitigating factor”, Justice Andrew said.

“The affidavit from Mr Bishara provides powerful evidence that a conviction will have a significant effect on Mr Green’s mana.”

And so Justice Andrew granted the appeal and Green was discharged without conviction.

“In assessing the issue of direct and indirect consequences and… the impact on mana, I acknowledge that Mr Green has previous convictions. However, these are both historic and traffic-related,” the decision said.

“He is now nearly 50 years old and clearly holds positions of leadership. I also note that there are significant references and letters of support before the court testifying to his significant roles within the community generally.”

This amounts to the further insertion of tikanga into New Zealand law and our justice system: the more mana a Maori can claim to have, and the higher their social standing, the more they look likely to be accorded leniency and forgiveness.

Let’s keep an eye on former Justice Minister Kiri Allan and whether she opts to play the mana card.

Allan pleaded not guilty last year to charges of careless driving and failing to accompany a police officer, after she crashed into a parked car.

She will face a judge-alone trial at Wellington District Court on May 22.

How the mana card might help Mongrel Mob miscreants is open to conjecture…

Bob Edlin is a veteran journalist and editor for the Point of Order blog HERE.


Robert Arthur said...

The law industry supports anything which increases the scope for its extortionate services so little reaction is likely from that quarter. Green should have explained he was "imagining decolonisation" and acting as he would in a maori run society.
Have yet to see a rush of msm comments on the matter. On Platform masterful coverge by Michael Laws. With the same on TVNZ the3y would be in clover.

Anonymous said...

Just another example of the slippery slope NZ is heading towards apartheid. Very sad.

Anonymous said...

And still CRICKETS from our Government?

Anonymous said...

An essential principle of the rule of law is that it applies to everyone equally: high or low, rich or poor, influential or obscure, government agents or ordinary citizens.

That a judge in a New Zealand court has disregarded this basic legal doctrine is scandalous.


Chuck Bird said...

AFAIK, the lowlife who bashed a 70-year-old woman was not Maori. He was discharged without conviction. I think there might be some cases where discharge without conviction is appropriate but not many. I do not think those few justify the many where it is not appropriate.

I am thinking of starting a Parliamentary petition to disallow discharge without conviction full stop. What do others think?

Tom Logan said...

Much of Maori society seems to have very little respect for the law, nor any concern for a criminal conviction.

It seems to be a badge of honor for many and a pre-requisite for gang membership.

Mr Green seems to be showing little more than contempt for the law. That he claims to be a person of significance in Maori society beggars belief.

Six months ago Opotiki was occupied and shut down by Maori gangs.

Last week 2 horribly battered children were admitted to Lower Hutt Hospital. Police say family members are not co-operating. Where have we seen that before ?

And this morning police report 2 dead and 100 people involved in a gang fight in Gisborne.

Perhaps the time for such judicial creativity is already past. Time for Minister Goldsmith to step up to the mark.

Or the National Part may be a minority party in the next government.

DeeM said...

If any more evidence were needed that our justice system and judges have gone full-on woke, then this is it.
"I plead not guilty, your honour, because it'll damage my mana!"

Doesn't that apply to ANYONE who gets convicted of an offence and isn't that part of the punishment? To have your reputation tarnished and to be embarrassed in public.
But if you're part-Maori and you appear before a half-witted, gullible judge who has no concept of "everyone being equal before the law" then it's a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Our parliament, being supreme in all legal matters, urgently needs to establish an independent body which reviews shocking judicial decisions like this, which are becoming common-place, and tests whether they have met the basic concepts and laws of New Zealand.
If not, the judgement is reversed and the judge is suspended pending an investigation into their previous cases and their fitness to hold the role.

Anonymous said...

Recently someone had their ear cut off, and the perpetrator wasn't even charged !

How are our Judges appointed these days ?
Has the rot set in with whichever committee makes the call by only admitting their similar woke left ilk ?

Anonymous said...

Dear oh dear, I don't even know what to say. I'm not overly surprised tho.

Anonymous said...

Our parliament is being stealthily usurped by apartheid activism in the courts. If the current government don't act on this I think we might see a NZ First Party Prime Minister in 2026. Or David Seymour as PM.
If we can't stop the runaway train now it becomes ever more difficult. National knows what we voted them in for but they are dragging the chain. I have little faith in them.

Robert Arthur said...

Hi Tom. I maintain the "imagine decolonisation mantra so fervently promoted by Moana Jacson, Mrgaret Motu and other seditous maori, has infiltrated all maoridom most of whom can only interpret the obscure message by rejecting all the refinement of European civilisation, including the post stone age legal system.

Kay O'Lacey said...

The crown needs to appeal this.

Anonymous said...

It would seem that the situation is being exacerbated to the next level by this:
It is more than enough to make one swear so I'll refrain.
Minister Goldie should be all over this toput this back in its box but will he?

Don said...

Arrogance exhibited by law-breakers is no new thing, nor is the often seen opinion that your laws don't apply to me. Nevertheless to plead "mana" gives some sort of immunity is quite creative. Pity the poor police officer trying to do his job and maintain order. Police authority deserves to be upheld and their "mana" is stroger than any self-important nuisance.