Pubdate: Fri, 01 Sep 2000
Source: New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2000 New Zealand Herald
Contact:  PO Box 32, Auckland, New Zealand
Fax: (09) 373-6421
Author: Brandon Hutchison
Note: Headline supplied by newshawk


The treatment by Judge Harvey of the now non-anonymous billionaire is
similar in effect to that meted out to the numerous first offenders granted
diversion - no conviction, no name published and a donation to a worthy
cause. Only the scale of donation was different.

Peter Lewis was rightly not convicted because the cannabis was for personal
medical use, as laws in the United States have rightly allowed. It was just
that his name was suppressed, as it should be for all those found innocent.

Name suppression or not, this process was still visible and thus the
public's right to know was not compromised. The newspaper crusade seeking
to reveal this man's name was driven by ghoulish prurience, nothing to with
anyone's right to know. It is rich for newspapers to claim moral high
ground in this case while on other matters deliberately distorting or
stifling debate or withholding information. The drug policy debate is a
case in point.

Dame Sian Elias, the Chief Justice, is plainly wrong when she says that
Judge Harvey's decision was "plainly wrong" and her decision suggests that
justice is confused even at the highest levels.

Brandon Hutchison
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