LAWPUBL 430 - Criminal Procedure

Credit points: 15 points
Offered: Second Semester
Contact hours: Lectures - 3 hours per week
Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Scott Optican
Prerequisite: LAW 201
Restriction: LAW 482

Course description

Criminal procedure is the set of rules governing the conduct of criminal trials and the investigation of crime by the police. Criminal procedure tells police how they may investigate criminal activity, outlines for accused persons the rights they possess in the face of criminal prosecution, and provides a set of rules for prosecutors, defence lawyers and judges with respect to the conduct of criminal trials. The aim of this course is to study selected topics in criminal procedure, both at the trial level and with respect to pre-trial investigative processes.

Content outline

The course covers selected and significant aspects of criminal procedure focusing on police investigative processes and criminal trial practice. Specifically, the course explores the law relating to: the exclusion of evidence obtained improperly by the police; search and seizure; the rights to counsel and silence; the right of police detainees to be charged promptly or released; the right of police detainees to be brought to court as soon as possible after arrest or detention; concepts of arrest and detention; arbitrary detention; the right to adequate time and facilities to prepare a defence; the right to a speedy trial; and various other fair trial rights. The emphasis will be on the law of criminal procedure under ss 21-25 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 –  with other complimentary rules studied from the Evidence Act 2006, the Search and Surveillance Act 2012 and the Criminal Procedure Act 2011.

Assessment

1500 word assignment (20%)

2 hour open-book exam (80%)

Open book means that you may, if you wish, bring into the exam and refer to any materials such as casebooks, textbooks and study notes.

Recommended text

Course materials to be distributed.

A useful text (which is not completely up to date) discussing many of the issues covered in class is P Rishworth, G Huscroft, S Optican & R Mahoney, The New Zealand Bill of Rights (Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 2003). A more current book on the NZ Bill of Rights is: Butler & Butler, The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act: A Commentary (Lexis Nexis, Wellington, 2015).

Students are also referred to the (not completely up to date) chapter by Scott Optican, “Criminal Procedure”, in J Tolmie & W Brookbanks (eds) Criminal Justice in New Zealand  (LexisNexis, Wellington, 2007) Ch 7.

Other useful texts are: W Young, N Trendle & R Mahoney, Search and Surveillance Act & Analysis  (Thomson Reuters, Wellington, 2012) (containing a complete copy of the Search and Surveillance Act 2012); Finn, Mathias & Mansfield, Criminal Procedure In New Zealand (2nd, Thomson Reuters, Wellington, 2015); and Elisabeth McDonald and Scott Optican (gens eds) Mahoney on Evidence (Thomson Reuters, Wellington, 2018) (containing a complete copy of the Evidence Act 2006).

Various chapters (“Criminal Procedure”, “Rights and Powers”, “Evidence”, “Trial Procedure”) of Robertson (ed) Adams on Criminal Law (Thomson Reuters, looseleaf, 1992-) and the online version at Thomson Reuters Westlaw NZ OnLine) are also good sources for the discussion and analysis of diverse aspects of criminal procedure.

The updates on “Evidence” written by Associate Professor Scott Optican in the New Zealand Law Review, articles in the The New Zealand Law Journal and cases digested in The Judgments Unlimited Express can also be good, current sources of judgments and materials dealing with various aspects of criminal procedure law.