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20190719 To the Supreme Court

 Do we go to the Supreme Court?   ( from Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents Chairman , Bruce Rogan )

We wrote to you last in May, and what we said in that newsletter has been repeated here (at the end), because we all need reminding how corrupted the administration of justice has become.

The appellants in the Court of Appeal hearing on Section 60 of the Local Government Rating Act (Bruce and Heather Rogan) did not attend the hearing in person.  They were represented by counsel (Jeremy Browne) and Clive Boonham also attended.

When the judgment came out both Clive and Jeremy were astounded that the Court had ruled on matters that were never heard by the Court.  The Court was asked to recall the judgment and re-issue it without the extraneous rulings (against the appellants).  It refused and issued a further judgment stating bluntly that it had heard full argument on all these other issues.

We (the Rogans) had to decide if we should take the matter any further, because the Court of Appeal said again, bluntly, that if we were unhappy we had to ask the Supreme Court to intervene.  We had been there before and the Supreme Court had refused to hear us and covered everything up.  Despite not hearing us it found time and energy to issue all kinds of ill-informed rubbish on the case, without hearing a word from us or anyone else.

In order to settle the question of what actually happened in the Court of Appeal we felt we needed to hear the proceeding for ourselves. We asked for a copy of the recording (any party to a hearing has a RIGHT to access the court record).  The president of the Court of Appeal said, in effect, “You could have attended the hearing when it took place, but chose not to, so naff off”.  Our non-attendance was not, at the time, a matter of choice, but Kos P did not ascertain the facts of this, so that was his position.  Further representations were made and Kos inched a little closer to being reasonable by saying that we could listen to the recording but only if we came to Wellington and sat in a Court room.  I (Bruce) arranged for a lawyer friend and another very good friend to attend and listen on our behalf.  Then, for some reason the Court decided that since the matter had arisen in Whangarei, that was where it would be played back.

The recordings were sent by email to the registrar at Whangarei, Paul Lincoln, who, so far, is the only judicial officer we have ever encountered who behaves with scrupulous impartiality, and a time and date was arranged for us to attend the court and listen to the hearing.  Heather and I, Clive, and Marion Walsh (PA to the deputy PM Mr Peters) attended.  We listened to the whole thing from end to end.  The actual matter before the court (S60) received very scant attention, and counsel for the council (Neutze) and one of the judges took every opportunity they could find to stray off topic.  As a result nearly two thirds of the hearing was hijacked into obiter (beside the point) discussions of all sorts of other clauses in the Act.  Nothing inherently wrong with that.  These judges come into these hearings in a state of profound ignorance of the facts and the law, and they use the court’s time and the applicants’ money to educate themselves. 

A higher Court, such as the Court of Appeal has a right to extend the scope of any matter before it if it chooses to do so.  However, certain steps must be taken if that is to happen.  The Court MUST advise the parties that other issues are in play, and it MUST give them the opportunity to prepare and submit arguments on those other issues.  The usual thing is that the Court reaches a point where it sees that the issue or issues  in front of it cannot be resolved without considering other things, so it tells the parties, adjourns the hearing, and reconvenes when the parties have prepared arguments.   This did not happen in this case.

There is another way.  The higher court is at liberty to draw on rulings of other courts where those other courts have heard full argument and made rulings accordingly. Based on the ancient judicial principle: Cur tenere canem et ipse latrare.  This was not available in this case because the defences we had raised (17 pages of them!) had not even been read or considered in the district and High courts, because it was deemed that S60 precluded them.  So, the Court of Appeal found that we were RIGHT about S60, and then immediately went on, essentially,  to say, “but these bloody troublemakers had better not have a win or we’ll never hear the end of it”.

If it was just a matter of the Rogans getting put in their place it’s doubtful that anyone could care less, nor should they.  But it is not.

What the Court of Appeal has done is set aside almost every obligation on councils to comply with the law.

If you are interested enough to know how, and why, reply to this email and I’ll send you the explanation.

And in conclusion, thanks again for your financial and moral help.

  If you think this cause justifies your support please make a donation to 38-9012-0318164-00 with your name and membership number,  and the word SC appeal, or a cheque to Box 225 Mangawhai 0540.

Every contribution is being recorded and audited  separately, (unlike money you pay to the council) and money not used or recovered  will be returned to you.

A letter writing campaign to the PM and the Minister of Justice will also help.

If you want suggestions as to what you might say, just ask by sending an e-mail to : brucerogan2017@gmail.com

Kind regards,

Bruce Rogan.

The earlier Newsletter follows:

A Plea for Help

The response from our community has, as always, been astonishingly generous.

If you made a contribution to the funds, I would appreciate it very much if you would also write to the Minister of Justice and the Prime Minister and say that you have done so.

 

The message these politicians need to get is that the New Zealand judiciary is undermining the Rule of Law and subverting the sovereignty of Parliament.

Of course Parliament cynically and shamefully undermined its own sovereignty by giving Kaipara council and all the crooks feeding at the KDC trough a free pass by enacting the infamous Validation Act.

But since then Key (who was clearly doing the bidding of ANZ Bank) has gone and we have a Government now that at least pretends to respect the Rule of Law.  Minister Little has stopped the cover-up of the Pike River mine murders, and he could, if he applied the same integrity to what happened here, stop this cover-up too.

I have written several letters to him and not even received an acknowledgement, let alone a response.

We think the government is being managed by the cover-up co-conspirators, the Department of Internal Affairs.  Politicians live in a state of perpetual terror of these bureaucrats because of the power they have to de-rail their programmes.  So they either have to be encouraged to act with decency by those same bureaucrats (Fat Chance!), or they have to reach an even greater state of fear of the electorate to stand up to the viziers.

That is where a big letter-writing campaign can succeed.  In parallel I am going to set out the diseased state of the judiciary for the media.  There is at least a chance, based on some recent communication I have received, that one responsible media outlet will take this story up and air it.  Once that happens I think we can have grounds for hoping that all of the media will get interested, and we will finally expose the rot and contagion that is destroying our democracy. 

We still need  about $5,000 to fund the application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.  We (I mean our tireless Treasurer Graham Jones) have created a separate column in our membership database and recorded  every SC contribution that has come in.  Wayne Johnson who was our financial reviewer until the last AGM has kindly agreed to help make sure that these records are checked and kept accurately..

The MRRA account number is 38 9012 0318164 00, and please put SC Appeal  and your membership number in the Reference.

If you prefer to send a cheque send it to Box 225 Mangawhai 0540 and make it payable to MRRA. Put SC Appeal  and on the back.

Please help if you can, and please ask non-members (anywhere) to help too. It affects them just as much.

This is important stuff, because it goes to the heart of what kind of country we live in.

Thanks,

Bruce Rogan.

Some of you may be interested to know what this is all about. If you are, please read on.

The District Court did not allow us to enter any defence against the councils when we (and 100+ others) were sued to recover unpaid rates and penalties.

The de Ridder ruling was that a clause known as  Section 60 means that there is essentially no defence against a council who sues a ratepayer.

We asked the High Court on appeal to overrule that (ridiculous) ruling.  It (Justice Ailsa Duffy) refused.

We went back and asked for permission to put S60 in front of the Court of Appeal.  To our surprise, Duffy J agreed (probably had a fit of conscience) and agreed to allow an appeal to the Court of Appeal on this one ground: the meaning of S60.

The Court of Appeal heard this and found that our view of the meaning of S60 was correct and the view adopted by the District Court and effectively endorsed by the High Court was wrong.

When it released its judgment, however it had secretly conducted its own hearing on two other clauses in the legislation and ruled on them as well as on S60.  It found FOR us on S60 (the ONLY matter before it), and found AGAINST us on these other two issues  (Sections 45,46), which it simply conjured up out of the blue.

We had argued in the District Court that failure to comply with ss45.46 rendered the councils’ rates demands invalid.  (not the rates themselves, just the demands)  de Ridder refused to hear those arguments because he said S60 overrode any other considerations.  So there was no ruling in either the dc or the High Court on the ss45,46 points.  Had there been, the CA could have used them, but there was not, and there was no discussion of the clauses and their meaning at the CA hearing (because it was restricted to the meaning of S60).

Our counsel was absolutely gobsmacked at this result, so we asked the CA to recall its judgment. It refused, and it issued a further judgment, in writing, saying that the CA had heard FULL ARGUMENT on the meaning of SS45,46.  They went on to say that if we wanted to challenge that we had to go to the Supreme Court.

What choice do we have?  The court of Appeal has either deliberately misrepresented the truth, or it has made an error.  We hope the latter, and we hope the justice system has the integrity and respect for the Rule of Law to be bold enough to admit it and set things right.