Inquiry into Crown Law needed over Zaoui debacle

The Greens are calling for an inquiry into the Crown Law Office in the wake of its failure to win any of the five legal proceedings against Ahmed Zaoui.

“I am asking Attorney-General Margaret Wilson to institute an inquiry into Crown Law following the abject failure of all Crown legal proceedings against Mr Zaoui,” said Keith Locke, Green Human Rights spokesperson.

“The court cases have shown stunning incompetence. If the public is to continue to have confidence in them, a shake-up of Crown Law and the Solicitor-General’s office is needed. Crown Law may be competent in ordinary criminal cases but it has lost its way in cases with a political dimension.”

Mr Locke said he would be asking Ms Wilson for copies of Crown Law legal advice to the Government on the Zaoui cases.

“Maybe the advice was not up to scratch, or maybe good advice was given but the Government ignored it. An even worse scenario would be that Crown Law has lost its objectivity because it knows the Labour Administration is out to get Mr Zaoui.

“Seeing the legal advice will help us identify exactly what the problem is.”

Mr Locke said that in all five substantive cases between the Crown and Mr Zaoui, the Crown had been comprehensively defeated.

The five losses were as follows:

• The High Court ruled against the Crown contention that the SIS didn’t need to give Mr Zaoui a summary of the allegations against him.

• Crown lawyers went into bat for Inspector-General Laurie Greig, only to see him resign after an adverse High Court ruling.

• The Court of Appeal overruled the Government’s refusal to let TVNZ interview Mr Zaoui.

• Over the past two years, the Government has insisted that Mr Zaoui’s human rights not be part of the Inspector-General’s review, only to have the High Court and Court of Appeal disagree.

• Last Thursday, Solicitor-General Terence Arnold tried to defend the indefensible and deny Mr Zaoui bail. The Supreme Court ruled for Mr Zaoui.