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Written Submission to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee

Written Submission to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee

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Published by Conrad Reyners
My submission on the Video Surveillance Bill
My submission on the Video Surveillance Bill

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Published by: Conrad Reyners on Sep 28, 2011
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Submission to the Justice and Electoral Select CommitteeVideo Camera Surveillance (Temporary Measures Bill) 2011
Written Submission to the Justice and Electoral Select CommitteeVideo Camera Surveillance (Temporary Measures Bill) 2011
28 September 2011My submission to this committee is a simple one. This bill is a poor bill that impinges on therule of law and the constitutional right of citizens to only be punished according to positiveacts of law. Retrospective legislation by Parliament is an affront to the rule of law, and to ourform of democratic governance.No parliamentarian
a member of an historical institution that was born out of the fightagainst absolutism
should ever support legislation that has the effect that this bill does. Todo so is a constitutional outrage.I am certain that more learned submitters than I will give you a detailed analysis of the flawsin the bill, and the precise provisions that give cause for concern.
For my part, I wish to submit something simpler. For the committee member’s benefit I have
attached a copy of 
 Entick v Carrington
for your perusal. In particular, I reference the wordsof Lord Camden:
…he [the state] is bound to show by way of justification, that some positive
law has empowered or excused him. The justification is submitted to the judges, who are to look into the books; and if such a justification can bemaintained by the text of the statute law, or by the principles of common law.
If no excuse can be found or produced, the silence of the books is anauthority against the defendant, and the plaintiff must have judgment.
[emphasis added]The constitutional principles of the rule of law, prohibitions on retrospectivity and the need tocheck the power of the Executive are just as relevant in 2011 as they were in 1765. NewZealand prides itself on its commitment to constitutional values and the rule of law. Thesevalues are as much a part of our history as they are part of our democratic governance.The words of Justice Camdem in
 Entick v Carrington
are a reminder of this. Members woulddo well to read it.I would urge members to not support this bill in its current form.Regards,Conrad Reyners.
Submission to the Justice and Electoral Select CommitteeVideo Camera Surveillance (Temporary Measures Bill) 2011
 Entick v. Carrington
19 Howell’s State Trials 1029 (1765)
 The Case of Seizure of Papers, being an Action of Trespass by JOHN ENTICK,clerk, against NATHAN CARRINGTON and three other Messengers in Ordinaryto the King, Court of Common-Pleas, Michaelmus Term: George III A. D. 1765[This Case is given with the above-mentioned title; because the chief pointadjudged was, That a warrant to search for and seize the papers of the accused, inthe case of a seditious libel, is contrary to law. But this was not the only question inthe Case. All the other interesting subjects, which were discussed in theimmediately preceding Case, except the question of General Warrants, were alsoargued in the following one; and most of them seem to have received a judicialopinion from the Court.The State of the case, with the arguments of the counsel, is taken from Mr. Serjeant
Wilson’s Reports, 2 Wils. 275. But instead of his short note of the Judgement of 
the Court, the Editor has the pleasing satisfaction to present to the reader theJudgment itself at length, as delivered by the Lord Chief Justice of the Common-Pleas from written notes. It was not without some difficulty, that the copy of thisJudgement was obtained by the Editor. He has reason to believe, that the original,most excellent and most valuable as its contents are, was not deemed worthy of preservation by its author, but was actually committed to the flames. Fortunately,the Editor remembered to have formerly seen a copy of the Judgment in the handsof a friend; and upon application to him, it was immediately obtained, with libertyto the Editor to make use of it at his discretion. Before, however, he presumed toconsult his own wishes in the use, the Editor took care to convince himself, boththat the copy was authentic, and that the introduction of it into this collectionwould not give offence. Indeed, as to the authenticity of the Judgment, except insome trifling inaccuracies, the probable effect of careless transcribing, a first
reading left the Editor’s mind without a doubt on the subject. But it was a
respectful delicacy due to the noble lord by whom the Judgment was delivered, notto publish it , without first endeavouring to know, whether such a step was likely tobe displeasing to his lordship; and though from the want of any authority from him,the Editor exposes himself to some risk of disapprobation, yet his precautions toguard against it, with the disinterestedness of his motives, will, he is confident, if ever it should become necessary to explain the circumstances to his lordship, hereceived as a very adequate apology for the liberty thus hazarded. Hargrave.]In Trespass; The plaintiff declares that the defendants on the 11
day of Novemberin the year of our Lord 1762, at Westminster in Middlesex, with force and armsbroke and entered the dwelling-house of the plaintiff in the parish of St. Dunstan,
Submission to the Justice and Electoral Select CommitteeVideo Camera Surveillance (Temporary Measures Bill) 2011
Stepney, and continued there four hours without his consent and against his will,and all that time disturbed him in the peaceable possession thereof, and broke openthe doors to the rooms, the locks, iron bars, etc. thereto affixed, and broke open theboxes, chests, drawers, etc. of the plaintiff in his house, and broke the locks theretoaffixed, and searched and examined all the rooms, etc., in his dwelling-house, andall the boxes, etc., so broke open, and read over, pried into and examined all theprivate papers, books, etc. of the plaintiff there found, whereby the secret affairs,etc., of the plaintiff became wrongfully discovered and made public and took andcarried away 100 printed charts, 100 printed pamphlets, etc. etc. of the plaintiff there found, and other 100 charts etc etc took and carried away, to the damage of the plaintiff 2000
 The defendants plead 1
not guilty to the whole declaration, whereupon issue is joined. 2dly, as to the breaking and entering the dwelling-house, and continuingfour hours, and all that time disturbing him in the possession thereof, and breakingopen the doors to the rooms, and breaking open the boxes, chests, drawers, etc of the plaintiff in his house, and searching and examining all the rooms, etc. in hisdwelling-house, and all the boxes, etc so broke open, and reading over, prying into,and examining the private papers, books, etc of the plaintiff there found, and takingand carrying away the goods and chattels in the declaration first mentioned therefound, and also as to taking and carrying away the goods and chattels in thedeclaration last mentioned, the defendants say, the plaintiff ought not to have hisaction against them, because they say, that before the supposed trespass, on the6
of November 1762, and before, until, and all the time of the supposed trespass,the earl of Halifax was, and yet is one of the lords o
f the king’s privy council, and
one of his principal secretaries of state, and that the earl before the trespass on the6
of November 1762, made his warrant under this hand and seal directed to the
defendants, by which the earl did in the king’s name aut
horize and require thedefendants, taking a constable to their assistance, to make strict and diligent searchfor the plaintiff, mentioned in the said warrant to be the author, or one concerned inthe writing of several weekly very seditious papers intitled, "The Monitor orBritish Freeholder, No 357, 358, 360, 373, 376, 378, and 380, London, printed to J.Wilson and J. Fell in Paternoster Row," containing gross and scandalous
reflections and invectives upon his majesty’s government, and upon both Houses
of Parliament, and him the plaintiff having found, to seize and apprehend and bringtogether with his books and papers in safe custody before the earl of Halifax to beexamined concerning the premisses, and further dealt with according to law; in thedue execution whereof all mayors, sheriffs, justices of the peace, constables, and
all other his majesty’s officers civil and military, and loving subjects, whom it
might concern, were to be aiding and assisting to them the defendants, as thereshould be occasion. And the defendants further say, that afterwards and before thetrespass on the same day and year, the warrant was delivered to them to beexecuted, and thereupon they on the same day and year in the declaration, in the
day time, about eleven o’clock, bei
ng the said time when, etc. by virtue and for the
execution of the said warrant, entered the plaintiff’s dwelling
-house, the outer door

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