Blast from the bench at courtroom behaviour

Judge claims conduct goes beyond the acceptable, even in Gisborne’s already-compromised “Pacifica-type” court atmosphere.

Judge claims conduct goes beyond the acceptable, even in Gisborne’s already-compromised “Pacifica-type” court atmosphere.

Judge Tony Adeane

THE behaviour of two people he jailed for contempt of court was beyond acceptable, even in Gisborne’s already-compromised court atmosphere, a judge has said.

Court-goers have been warned to watch their conduct, with two men charged and held for contempt by Judge Tony Adeane in Gisborne District Court in recent weeks.

The visiting circuit judge’s patience had clearly reached its limits when he made a statement in open court about the ongoing deteriorating conduct of court users generally in Gisborne.

The previous week he had experienced “all manner of unacceptable behaviours”, he said. Two defendants, in particular, went too far over the line. Each made outbursts as they left the dock after sentence in separate and unrelated cases.

That conduct went well beyond what was acceptable, even in Gisborne’s already-compromised “Pacifica-type” court atmosphere, the judge said.

He had both the men — Cohen Rawiri Irwin, 32, and Regan Wiremu Hatea-A-Rangi Kaa-Tuari, 23 — charged with contempt of court.

The Gisborne court was more accommodating than most, with judges here tolerating behaviours that would not be tolerated elsewhere, especially in overseas courts on which our system was modelled, Judge Adeane said.

Judges here regularly turned a blind eye to “sunglasses, baseball caps, ‘love you babe’-ing, ‘yo bro’-ing, and high-fiving,” the judge said.

But court users had to realise that while they wanted understanding of their cultural practice, the culture of the court deserved respect too, the judge said.

Dignity of the court

Every court user was entitled to the dignity of the court entity and process.

Irwin’s outburst as he left the dock saw him held in custody overnight. The onus was on him, due to his criminal history, to prove bail would be suitable.

Brought back before the judge the next day, Irwin gave a well-articulated apology, which the judge accepted was “heartfelt”.

Irwin said he was embarrassed by his actions, that he had a good upbringing, raised by his grandparents on a marae.

The judge was right to say his behaviour was intolerable, which he realised after a night in the cells.

Counsel Jonathan Natusch said Irwin had only just found employment again and could stand to lose it if kept in custody any longer.

Convicting and discharging Irwin, Judge Adeane told him to be careful about his impulsive behaviour.

That impulsivity was common among offenders in Gisborne. They did not respect others and the fact other people were entitled to peace and quiet.

The outcome was not so positive for Kaa-Tuari who, having just received a 30-month prison term for domestic violence, was subjected to a further 28 days.

Kaa-Tuari proffered his apology through his counsel John Mathieson, who said a comment yelled by his client across the courtroom was to a gang associate in the public gallery and not directed at the bench.

Judge Adeane said it was immaterial who the comment was directed at. It was obscene language inappropriately voiced in a courtroom.

It was not a matter of individual dignity but the need to maintain the dignified appearance of the court to which everybody was entitled and which was necessary to maintain law and order.

THE behaviour of two people he jailed for contempt of court was beyond acceptable, even in Gisborne’s already-compromised court atmosphere, a judge has said.

Court-goers have been warned to watch their conduct, with two men charged and held for contempt by Judge Tony Adeane in Gisborne District Court in recent weeks.

The visiting circuit judge’s patience had clearly reached its limits when he made a statement in open court about the ongoing deteriorating conduct of court users generally in Gisborne.

The previous week he had experienced “all manner of unacceptable behaviours”, he said. Two defendants, in particular, went too far over the line. Each made outbursts as they left the dock after sentence in separate and unrelated cases.

That conduct went well beyond what was acceptable, even in Gisborne’s already-compromised “Pacifica-type” court atmosphere, the judge said.

He had both the men — Cohen Rawiri Irwin, 32, and Regan Wiremu Hatea-A-Rangi Kaa-Tuari, 23 — charged with contempt of court.

The Gisborne court was more accommodating than most, with judges here tolerating behaviours that would not be tolerated elsewhere, especially in overseas courts on which our system was modelled, Judge Adeane said.

Judges here regularly turned a blind eye to “sunglasses, baseball caps, ‘love you babe’-ing, ‘yo bro’-ing, and high-fiving,” the judge said.

But court users had to realise that while they wanted understanding of their cultural practice, the culture of the court deserved respect too, the judge said.

Dignity of the court

Every court user was entitled to the dignity of the court entity and process.

Irwin’s outburst as he left the dock saw him held in custody overnight. The onus was on him, due to his criminal history, to prove bail would be suitable.

Brought back before the judge the next day, Irwin gave a well-articulated apology, which the judge accepted was “heartfelt”.

Irwin said he was embarrassed by his actions, that he had a good upbringing, raised by his grandparents on a marae.

The judge was right to say his behaviour was intolerable, which he realised after a night in the cells.

Counsel Jonathan Natusch said Irwin had only just found employment again and could stand to lose it if kept in custody any longer.

Convicting and discharging Irwin, Judge Adeane told him to be careful about his impulsive behaviour.

That impulsivity was common among offenders in Gisborne. They did not respect others and the fact other people were entitled to peace and quiet.

The outcome was not so positive for Kaa-Tuari who, having just received a 30-month prison term for domestic violence, was subjected to a further 28 days.

Kaa-Tuari proffered his apology through his counsel John Mathieson, who said a comment yelled by his client across the courtroom was to a gang associate in the public gallery and not directed at the bench.

Judge Adeane said it was immaterial who the comment was directed at. It was obscene language inappropriately voiced in a courtroom.

It was not a matter of individual dignity but the need to maintain the dignified appearance of the court to which everybody was entitled and which was necessary to maintain law and order.

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William Simpson - 1 year ago
Good on judge Adeane - after all it's a court of law, not a three-ringed circus.
Gisborne has been blessed with some very fair judges over the years. I used to love reading the comments of Judge Willis who once told one of his regular customers he believed that when he (the judge) died and they did the post-mortem on him, they would find that offender's name tattooed on his body. He respected them and was very fair in his dealings with offenders.

Murphy - 1 year ago
Pity we didn't have an honourable judge like him when we attended court. It is the old boys club. No justice in the courts of NZ. Ripped off by the lawyers as well - they all covered their bums.

Tim Marshall - 1 year ago
Could Judge Adeane please clarify what he means by "Gisborne's already-compromised 'Pacifica-type' court atmosphere" and that this is somehow inferior to the court's otherwise "dignified" approach? By his standards or the standards of his own culture? Last time I checked, such assertions had racist connotations and are disappointing to hear at any time, let alone publicly stated from the court bench and reported in our local paper. It appears that the "understanding of their cultural practice" has some way to go to earn the respect it deserves. Perhaps Judge Adeane may himself consider a "well articulated" or "heartfelt" apology to the Pacifica people of this community?

Andrea Hopkins - 1 year ago
A jury has found Quinton Winders guilty of murdering Waikato roadworker George Taiaroa. Friends and family of Winders hugged after the verdict was read, they called out "I love you" as Winders was led to the cells. The family were not reprimanded nor was the murderer. They are not "Pacifica-type" - double standard?

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