High Court Judgments of Public Interest

This page provides access to judgments of the High Court in the last 90 days deemed to be of particular public interest.

More information about finding court judgments is available on the Judgments section of this website.

It is the responsibility of users of the information contained in these decisions to ensure compliance with conditions or other legal obligations governing access, release, storage and re-publication. See also the guide on statutory provisions that prohibit publication of certain information in certain circumstances (PDF, 211 KB). If in doubt you should consult the court that issued the decision(s). Judicial decisions are presented in PDF format to preserve the integrity of the documents.

 

Case number
[2022] NZHC 3194
Date of Judgment
01 December 2022
Summary
Judicial review by remand prisoner of Correction's haircutting facilities in Prisoners of Extreme Risk Unit.

HELD: application declined. Although haircutting engages rights under international law, NZBORA, Corrections Act 2004, Corrections Regulations 2005, the applicant had been offered a bespoke solution by Corrections. Further, there was no evidence that the facilities provided would undermine the applicant's dignity. "Proper care" of the hair to be interpreted objectively, not on subjective views of applicant (although cultural and religious factors are relevant).
Case name
Case number
[2022] NZHC 3168
Date of Judgment
30 November 2022
Summary
Sentencing following guilty verdicts delivered in Judge-alone trial - Mr Zhang x 1 charge of obtaining by deception in relation to a political donation to the National Party in June 2018; Mr Colin Zheng x 2 charges of obtaining by deception in relation to political donations to the National Party in June 2017 and June 2018; and Mr Joe Zheng x 1 charge of obtaining by deception in relation to political donation to the National Party in June 2018 and x 1 charge of providing false or misleading information to the SFO.

Mr Zhang seeks discharge without conviction. HELD: (1) the offending is moderate in seriousness; (2) there is insufficient evidence that he impacts on Mr Zhang's standing in the community and ability to travel to the US are a consequence of conviction rather than offending; impact on standing also an ordinary consequence; and (3) consequences are not out of all proportion to the offending - application declined.

MR ZHANG: starting point - 15 months' imprisonment; no aggravating personal factors warranting an uplift; discount of 25 per cent given for personal mitigating factors; end sentence 4 months' community detention (with a daily curfew from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am) and 200 hours' community work.

MR COLIN ZHENG: starting point- 21 months' imprisonment; no aggravating personal factors warranting an uplift; discount of 20 per cent given for personal mitigating factors; end sentence 5 months' community detention (daily curfew from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am) and 250 hours community work.

MR JOE ZHENG: starting point - 12 months' imprisonment (8 months' for the obtaining by deception offending and 4 months for misleading the SFO offending); no aggravating personal factors warranting an uplift; discount of 15 per cent given for personal mitigating factors; end sentence - 2 months' community detention (daily curfew from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am) and 100 hours community work for obtaining by deception, and 1 month's community detention (daily curfew from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am) and 50 hours community work for providing misleading information to the SFO - to be served cumulatively.
Case number
[2022] NZHC 3126
Date of Judgment
28 November 2022
Summary
Appeal against decision of Environment Court. Continuation of Self Family Trust v Auckland Council proceedings- appeal to HC succeeded in part and remitted to Environment Court ([2019]-NZHC 1603). Appellants now appeal against Environment Court's reconsideration of location of rural urban boundary (RUB) by Pukaki Peninsula. 

Appellants claimed EnvC: failed to apply the interpretation of Regional Policy Statement, Policy B2.2.2(2)(j) on elite soils set out by the High Court; failed to properly assess mana whenua issues and breached natural justice; and did not apply the correct test for accepting the appellants' evidence for Structure Plan Guidelines under RPS Policy B2.2.2(2)(f) and Appendix 1 of the Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP). 

HELD: appeal declined. EnvC correctly interpreted and applied elite soils test; not required to direct or facilitate consultation between appellants and mana whenua beyond what had already been done; reasonably assessed the available evidence; not required to set out standard of information required under Structure Plan Guidelines for the appellants. RUB location remains as per original Council decision.
Case number
[2022] NZHC 3064
Date of Judgment
23 November 2022
Summary
Lawyers for Climate Action New Zealand(LCANZ), was incorporated as a non-profit group of over 350 lawyers to advocate for New Zealand to meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement in the public interest.  It brought judicial review proceedings against the Climate Commission and the Minister of Climate Change to challenge the Advice given by the Commission to the Minister under the Climate Change Response Act 2002.  The challenge was to two parts of the Advice: the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) Advice; and the Emissions Budgets Advice.  The NDC Advice concerned whether New Zealand’s 2016 NDC was consistent with the global effort to limit warming to 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels.  The Commission advised that the 2016 NDC was not consistent with the global 1.5˚C effort and provided advice of the level of commitment that would be compatible with that effort.  The Budgets Advice concerned emissions budgets for New Zealand’s emissions of all greenhouse gases for consecutive periods with a view to putting New Zealand on track to meet the domestic 2050 Target and global 1.5˚C effort, as set out in the Climate Change Response Act.

LCANZ challenged the Commission’s Advice on four grounds: 1) the NDC Advice was based on a logical or mathematical error; 2) the Commission misinterpreted the statutory purpose in relation to the emissions budgets; 3) the Commission misinterpreted the statutory provisions relating to the measurement of emissions for the purposes of setting and meeting the Budgets, specifically, by recommended modified activity-based accounting (MAB); and 4) the proposed emissions budgets were irrational, unreasonable and inconsistent with the purpose of the Act. 

Held: All grounds of review are dismissed.  The Commission did not make a mathematical or logical error in its NDC Advice, although it could have set out its approach more clearly.  The Commission did not misinterpret the statutory purpose of the Climate Change Response Act, but correctly understood that emissions budgets are set having regard to the mandatory relevant considerations and with both the 2050 Target and global 1.5˚C goal in mind.  The Commission did not err in law by recommending MAB as the accounting methodology for measuring progress towards meeting the emissions budgets and 2050 Target as the legislation did not mandate annual national inventory reporting under the UNFCCC.  The Commission did not act irrationally, unreasonably or inconsistently with the statutory purpose when recommending emissions budgets. Parliament did not task the Commission with a particular model by which to recommend budgets that would contribute to the 1.5˚C goal.  The Commission’s approach was sufficiently justified by the reasoning and the information on which it was based. LCANZ failed to show that the Commission’s Advice fell outside its task to provide advice consistent with the purpose of the Act.
Media Release
Case name
Case number
[2022] NZHC 3030
Date of Judgment
18 November 2022
Summary
Sentencing for murder (Crimes Act 1961, s 172), aggravated robbery (s 235(b)) and assault with a weapon (s 202C). Sentence for murder was life imprisonment. Sentencing Act 2002 s 104 applied to mandate a minimum period of imprisonment (MPI) of 17 years (because murder was committed in the course of an aggravated robbery and with a high level of callousness) unless manifestly unjust. Court found an MPI of 17 years would be manifestly unjust because defendant had lesser role in the offending than his co-offender; and because of parity with co-offender. Starting point for the MPI set at 15 and a half years. Guilty plea discount of 18 months because defendant pleaded guilty to murder charge as a party after first trial resulted in a hung jury. Further reduction of 18 months for remorse and personal mitigating factors. End sentence of 12 and a half years MPI for murder, seven years’ imprisonment for aggravated robbery and 18 months’ imprisonment for assault with a weapon, to be served concurrently.
Case number
[2022] NZHC 3015
Date of Judgment
18 November 2022
Summary
The Corrections Act 2004 came into force 1 June 2005. That Act empowers the Minister to fix rates of earnings for prisoners' work. This judgment holds the Corrections Act required the Minister to fix rates under that Act. The Minister has acted unlawfully in not doing so.

By the same Act, every prisoner who makes an outgoing telephone call may be required to meet the cost of the call or pay a fee set by the chief executive of the Department of Corrections. Serco, which manages Auckland South Corrections Facility, set a fee for outgoing calls  without the required delegation of the chief executive. The judgment concludes Serco therefore acted unlawfully.
Case number
[2022] NZHC 3001
Date of Judgment
16 November 2022
Summary
Appeal against decision of the Legal Aid Tribunal (LAT). 

Appellant claimed that the LAT erred in law by concluding that s 47 of the Legal Services Act 2011 (the Act) applies only to proceedings in the Waitangi Tribunal, as opposed to proceedings in other Courts that arise from, and directly relate to, proceedings before the Waitangi Tribunal.  Appellant was unable to participate in proceedings in the general Courts, owing to   Commissioner’s view that the judicial review proceedings relating to her representative claim and the subsequent appeals were not ‘in respect of proceedings before the Waitangi Tribunal’ 

Held: Appeal allowed. Both interpretations offered by the appellant and the Commissioner were reasonably open on the terms of s 47 of the Act, which could reasonably be interpreted in a narrow or broad fashion.  Interpretation proposed by the appellant was wholly supported by the dual purposes of the legislation.  Dual purposes of the legislation were to promote access to justice and to protect the interests of Māori bringing claims to the Waitangi Tribunal, particularly in relation to the power of the Waitangi Tribunal to make binding recommendations in respect of Crown forest land.
Case number
[2022] NZHC 2996
Date of Judgment
16 November 2022
Summary
The High Court grants leave to appeal its judgment in a test case regarding the rating implications of SunGold Kiwifruit, because of the significant issues and interests at stake.
Case number
[2022] NZHC 2991
Date of Judgment
15 November 2022
Summary
The High Court explains its reasons for making a Tokelauan child the ward of the High Court of Tokelau, under the care of the Minister of Education and Faipule of Atafu
Case number
[2022] NZHC 2972
Date of Judgment
14 November 2022
Summary
Examination of what is covered by the scope and reach of the prohibition against "questioning" of "proceedings" in parliament and whether and to what extent a defendant who provides material to a Member of Parliament is themselves also within the scope of privilege.

On the facts of the case found that the provision of information by the defendant to the Member of Parliament fell within the scope of privilege.
Case number
[2021] NZHC 1308
Date of Judgment
14 November 2022
Summary
Reissued judgment.
Defendant liable to plaintiff in defamation - awarded $120,000.00 lnterest and costs on 2B basis.
Case number
[2022] NZHC 2934
Date of Judgment
09 November 2022
Summary
Appeal against decision of the Family Court as to the placement of a Māori child, Moana, with a non-Māori couple, the Smiths. The appellant, Moana's mother, sought that her child be placed with a Māori family, the Taipas. The appeal raised issues of the application of tikanga Māori and Treaty principles incorporated into the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 by way of the 2019 amendments, as well as challenging the characterisation of the psychological evidence, rejection of social worker evidence and issues relating to bias and recusal.
Held: Appeal dismissed on all grounds. The overarching and paramount consideration under the Act is the well-being and best interests of the child. The ss 5 and 13 principles then guide an holistic assessment, which the Judge undertook. The High Court emphasised that each case must be determined on its facts. The facts in this case were determinative of the outcome of the case.
Media Release
Case number
[2022] NZHC 2924
Date of Judgment
08 November 2022
Summary
Application for an interim interim order, pending on-notice application for an interim order. The applicant sought to prevent the respondents from burning huts in Te Urewera. He alleged the respondents did not act in accordance with Te Urewera Act, particularly by not preparing an annual operational plan, and did not consult with hapu or the wider public. 

Held: on an interim basis, the claim appeared not to lack merit. An interim order was necessary to preserve the applicant's position, and would not cause great inconvenience to the respondents. Application granted.
Case name
Case number
[2022] NZHC 2850
Date of Judgment
02 November 2022
Summary
Sentencing after defendant found guilty of vehicular manslaughter by a jury: driving vehicle at speed into a stationary line of vehicles at an intersection, killing the driver of the car in front. Drove knowing he had consumed methamphetamine, amphetamine and cannabis; had barely slept the night before; and had sensed an evil or malevolent energy. While driving, he experienced a psychotic episode caused by methamphetamine in which he heard voices telling him that if he killed himself everyone would be saved and he would be the saviour.

Starting point of 6 years' imprisonment, uplifted by 5% (approximately 3 ½ months) for previous convictions and 2.5% (approximately 2 months) for committing the offence while subject to a sentence of supervision, with a reduction of 20% for personal mitigating factors (upbringing, addiction, mental health and rehabilitative prospects), reducing the sentence to 5 years' 3 months' imprisonment. Further reduction of 9 months for time spent on EM bail, resulting in an end sentence of 4 years' and 6 months' imprisonment. Disqualified from driving for a period of two years following release from prison.
Case number
[2022] NZHC 2810
Date of Judgment
31 October 2022
Summary
Unsuccessful appeal against decision of Expert Consenting Panel approving resource consents under the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-Track Consenting) Act 2020 (FTCA) to construct four large wind turbines for the Kapuni Green Hydrogen Project.

Re cultural issues, Panel acted in a manner "consistent with" principles of the Treaty and Treaty settlements, as required under s 6 FTCA, in all respects: Panel identified and engaged with concerns of TK and mana whenua hapū, satisfied conditions adequately mitigated concerns, no procedural errors. 
Re environmental issues, no error: Panel considered environmental effects and entitled to rely on, assess and weigh evidence before it as it did.
Case number
[2022] NZHC 2801
Date of Judgment
27 October 2022
Summary
The High Court makes its first protective costs order, that plaintiffs do not have to pay costs in relation to proceedings brought in the public interest, about serious human rights issues, with competent counsel, for no personal benefit.
Case number
[2022] NZHC 2718
Date of Judgment
19 October 2022
Summary
Judicial review application brought by Winston Peters against the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, under the Judicial Review Procedure Act 2016 and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. Mr Peters visited the grounds of Parliament on 22 February 2022, during the course of the occupation of Parliament grounds from 8 February to 2 March 2022. The Speaker exercised his power under s 26(2) of the Parliamentary Service Act 2000 to issue Mr Peters a warning under s 4 of the Trespass Act 1980. The warning was withdrawn on 4 May 2022.

The parties agreed to settle the claim and the Court made orders by consent, in the form of declarations that:
(1) the respondent’s exercise of the power under s 26(2) of the Parliamentary Service Act 2000 to issue the applicant a warning was unreasonable and irrational; and
(2) the warning from the respondent to the applicant was an unjustified limitation on the applicant’s right to freedom of movement under s 18 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act
Case number
[2022] NZHC 2692
Date of Judgment
18 October 2022
Summary
Solicitor-General proposes to appeal against sentence of 9 months' home detention for serious sexual offending. Appeal filed six weeks out of time. Crown endorsed home detention sentence at all times in lower courts. HELD: Merits of proposed appeal are strong. However, Crown's late change in stance is significant, particularly where offender is a young person, possibility of imprisonment not raised until well after statutory period for appealing had passed and young person's mental health is fragile. To substitute a sentence of imprisonment also carries a real risk of undermining rehabilitative progress to date. Crown application for leave to appeal out of time declined.
Case number
[2022] NZHC 2644
Date of Judgment
13 October 2022
Summary
Re Edwards (Whakatōhea Stage Two) interim judgment under the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011, ruling on Customary Marine Title (CMT) and Protected Customary Rights (PCR) recognition orders and wāhi tapu. The High Court has made a number of determinations as to awards of CMT and PCR, and also directed that the applicants file further maps and evidence where necessary.  Many of the applicants produced material beyond the limited matters required relevant to the Stage Two hearing. None of the applicants who had obtained CMT orders filed survey plans which complied with the requirements of the Act. This is the first case where many of the issues relevant to Stage Two hearings have been considered and because of the technical difficulties experienced in the preparation of survey plans, it is appropriate to give the successful applicants the opportunity to supplement their evidence in accordance with the Court's directions.
Media Release
Case name
Case number
[2022] NZHC 2541
Date of Judgment
05 October 2022
Summary
Reasons for verdicts following Judge-alone trial given in R v Zhang [2022] NZHC 2540. Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigations into political party donations to the Labour Party and the National Party. Crown alleges the defendants in each case adopted a fraudulent device, trick, or stratagem to deceive the Party Secretary or the Electoral Commission by providing sham names of purported donors below the $15,000 disclosure threshold in the Electoral Act 1993, amounting to an offence of obtaining by deception under s 240(1)(a) of the Crimes Act 1961: (a) Mr Zhang, Mr Colin Zheng, Mr Joe Zheng, C, H and W face two alternative charges of obtaining by deception in relation to a payment of $60,000 to the Labour Party in March 2017 for the purchase of five paintings, which amounted to a donation of $34,840 after deducting the value of the paintings; (b) Mr Zhang, Mr Colin Zheng and Mr Ross face two alternative charges of obtaining by deception in relation to a donation of $100,000 made to the National Party in June 2017; (c) Mr Zhang, Mr Colin Zheng, Mr Joe Zheng and Mr Ross face two alternative charges of obtaining by deception in relation to a donation of $100,050 made to the National Party in June 2018. The alternative charges in each case allege a different benefit - either the political party's possession of the donation or the true donor's freedom from public scrutiny. Mr Joe Zheng also faces a charge of supplying false or misleading information under s 45(a) and (d) of the SFO Act. HELD: On the charges relating to the Labour Party donation, all defendants found not guilty as the value of the donation was not proved. On the charges relating to the 2017 National Party donation, Mr Colin Zheng found guilty (on charge 3) and Mr Zhang and Mr Ross found not guilty. On the charges relating to the 2018 National Party donation, Mr Zhang, Mr Colin Zheng and
Mr Joe Zheng found guilty (on charge 5) and Mr Ross found not guilty.
Case number
[2022] NZHC 2540
Date of Judgment
05 October 2022
Summary
Verdicts following Judge-alone trial. Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigations into political party donations to the Labour Party and the National Party. Crown alleges the defendants in each case adopted a fraudulent device, trick, or stratagem to deceive the Party Secretary or the Electoral Commission by providing sham names of purported donors below the $15,000 disclosure threshold in the Electoral Act 1993, amounting to an offence of obtaining by deception under s 240(1)(a) of the Crimes Act 1961: (a) Mr Zhang, Mr Colin Zheng, Mr Joe Zheng, C, H and W face two alternative charges of obtaining by deception in relation to a payment of $60,000 to the Labour Party in March 2017 for the purchase of five paintings, which amounted to a donation of $34,840 after deducting the value of the paintings; (b) Mr Zhang, Mr Colin Zheng and Mr Ross face two alternative charges of obtaining by deception in relation to a donation of $100,000 made to the National Party in June 2017; (c) Mr Zhang, Mr Colin Zheng, Mr Joe Zheng and Mr Ross face two alternative charges of obtaining by deception in relation to a donation of $100,050 made to the National Party in June 2018.  The alternative charges in each case allege a different benefit – either the political party’s possession of the donation or the true donor’s freedom from public scrutiny. Mr Joe Zheng also faces a charge of supplying false or misleading information under s 45(a) and (d) of the SFO Act. HELD: On the charges relating to the Labour Party donation, all defendants found not guilty. On the charges relating to the 2017 National Party donation, Mr Colin Zheng found guilty (on charge 3) and Mr Zhang and Mr Ross found not guilty. On the charges relating to the 2018 National Party donation, Mr Zhang, Mr Colin Zheng and Mr Joe Zheng found guilty (on charge 5) and Mr Ross found not guilty.
Case number
[2022] NZHC 2524
Date of Judgment
03 October 2022
Summary
After reviewing the interim judgment of the Employment Court in the matter of Courage v Attorney-General Westland advised Canaan (a company owning three dairy farms with links to Gloriavale) it would no longer collect Canaan's milk supply claiming it had breached its contract with Westland.
Application for mandatory injunction - requiring Westland to collect milk from three dairy farms owned by Canaan Farming Dairy Ltd with links to the Christian community known as Gloriavale.
Held: balance of convenience overwhelmingly favoured Canaan and the respondent was required to collect the milk supply from Canaan's dairy farms pending further order of the Court subject to the condition that Canaan not employ any minors or associate partners under the age of 18 on its farms pending determination of the substantive proceedings.
Case name
Case number
[2022] NZHC 2470
Date of Judgment
28 September 2022
Summary
Sentence of three years' imprisonment for manslaughter, cumulative upon seven years two months' imprisonment on other charges - common enterprise to scare victim with a shotgun - co-defendant convicted of murder for shooting victim- unusual mitigating factors in defendant's role.
Case number
[2022] NZHC 2465
Date of Judgment
27 September 2022
Summary
Synopsis and Media Release 
In 2018 Mr Fitzgerald-who suffers from a number of mental impairments-was found guilty of a relatively low-level indecent assault. Because he was on a third "strike", he was sentenced to the maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment. 

In October 2021 the Supreme Court overturned that sentence. Contrary to the view taken in the courts below, the Court held that the three strikes legislation did not contemplate the imposition of a sentence that was grossly disproportionate and in breach of s 9 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (NZBORA). In doing so the Court noted that, in enacting the three strikes law, Parliament had expected that the risk of a grossly disproportionate, rights-breaching, sentence would be avoided by an administrative process involving the exercise of prosecutorial discretion. 

Mr Fitzgerald was then resentenced to six months' imprisonment, which would have entitled him to release after three.  But by the time of his resentencing, he had already spent some 1789 days (59 months) in prison. He therefore brought proceedings seeking damages for breach of his right not to be arbitrarily detained under s 22 of the NZBORA. Because, in an unrelated case, the Supreme Court has held that judicial acts (such as sentencing) cannot found a claim under the NZBORA, his challenge focused on the decision to lay the indecent assault charge by the Crown prosecutor. 

The High Court held that the Crown prosecutor, when acting in that capacity, is a state "actor" for the purposes of s 3 of the NZBORA. As well, the exercise of prosecutorial discretion was governed by the Solicitor-General's Prosecution Guidelines, which have the force of law by dint of s 188 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011. The Prosecution Guidelines required a prosecutor to be satisfied not only that there was an evidential sufficiency for laying a particular charge but also that laying that charge was in the public interest. As Arnold J (writing for himself and O'Regan J) observed in the Supreme Court decision, the public interest limb of the inquiry included any relevant NZBORA considerations. 

The High Court found that in light of all those matters, and Parliament's expectation when enacting the three strikes law, it followed that the Crown prosecutor was obliged to exercise their prosecutorial discretion in a way that avoided the risk of a defendant becoming subject to a disproportionately severe punishment on sentencing. The Crown prosecutor breached that obligation in Mr Fitzgerald's case. The judicial restraint that is usually exercised where prosecutorial discretion is in issue did not apply because the obligation to consider, and to act consistently with, Mr Fitzgerald's rights under s 9 was not a matter of discretion. The Court also held that at the point at which Mr Fitzgerald's sentence had, as a matter of fact, become grossly disproportionate (by reference to the offending itself and his personal circumstances) his detention also became arbitrary and in breach of s 22 of the NZBORA. Alternatively, the breach of s 9 could simply be measured by reference to that part of the punishment actually suffered by Mr Fitzgerald that was disproportionately severe. For reasons explained in the judgment the Court found that the relevant measure of the breach here was his detention between 5 March 2018 and 29 October 2021: a period of 1334 days or 44 months. 

The Court accepted that the operation of the declaratory theory meant that the Supreme Court's decision in Fitzgerald merely revealed that sentencing judges had always had the power to decline to impose a sentence on a stage three offence that was grossly disproportionate, but rejected the Crown submission that this theory could operate retrospectively to absolve the Crown's liability for the prosecutor's breach here. While it was a Judge who imposed the sentence directly leading to Mr Fitzgerald's imprisonment, the Crown prosecutor had a discrete constitutional obligation to exercise their charging discretion in a way that would not expose defendants to the risk of a grossly disproportionate sentence in breach of the NZBORA. Throughout, it had been the prosecutor's intention that the apparently mandatory (and grossly disproportionate) sentence be imposed on Mr Fitzgerald. Moreover it was clear that Parliament's expectation was that prosecutorial discretion would operate as the primary means by which rights breaching sentences would be avoided. 

Although Mr Fitzgerald was (eventually) released as a result of the criminal process, NZBORA damages were necessary to give him a fully effective remedy for the breaches here. Based on the relevant authorities, the factors set out in the Prisoners' Victims Claims Act (PVCA) and factors personal to Mr Fitzgerald, an award of $450,000 (plus interest) was appropriate. In the first instance, the amount awarded must be paid to the Secretary for Justice, under the PVCA.
Case number
[2022] NZHC 2464
Date of Judgment
27 September 2022
Summary
High Court declines urgent application for orders preventing Dept of Corrections from transferring a number of sentenced women prisoners from Arohata Prison to other women's prisons in New Zealand while it deals with significant staff shortages.
Case name
Case number
[2022] NZHC 2461
Date of Judgment
27 September 2022
Summary
Sentence of life imprisonment with minimum period of imprisonment of 10 years and six months imposed where offender convicted of murder after jury trial. Court determined that the presumption against life imprisonment was not displaced. In the circumstances, where offender had shot the deceased twice in the context of a drug deal gone wrong, MPI starting point of 11 years adopted. Six months discount for personal considerations applied.
Case name
Case number
[2022] NZHC 2438
Date of Judgment
23 September 2022
Summary
Defendant sentenced after being found guilty on charges of murder and threatening to kill. Both charges involved the same victim. Two days after an altercation between the defendant and the victim, in which the defendant brandished a firearm at the victim and threatened to kill him, the defendant visited an address where the victim happened to be socialising with some associates. The victim approached the defendant to confront her, and an argument ensued. In response to seemingly modest provocation the defendant revealed a concealed firearm, loaded it and told the victim to get back. The victim made an attempt to grab the firearm, but the defendant pulled it up and way. She then returned the firearm to aim at the victim's torso and discharged it.
HELD: the circumstances of the offending were not such that could displace the presumption of a sentence of life imprisonment. Discount of nine-month applied to the minimum period of imprisonment (MPI) starting point to reflect mitigating factors personal to the offender including remorse and contents raised in the s 27 report causative of offending. Final MPI of 10 years and nine months imposed. Concurrent sentence of one year imprisonment imposed for threatening to kill. Order for forfeiture and destruction of firearm; to lie in Court for a period of two months pending the exercise of any appeal rights.
Case name
Case number
[2022] NZHC 2424
Date of Judgment
21 September 2022
Summary
Sentencing manslaughter.
Victim was punched then stomped on the head three times after he threatened to assault a female visitor and hen directed racial slurs at defendant.
Upper band 2 Taueki starting point eight and a half years' imprisonment. Nine month reduction reflect conduct of victim. Ten per cent uplift to reflect significant history of violent offending. Twenty per cent credit for guilty plea and 15 per cent for personal matters detailed in cultural and psychiatric reports. End sentence five years, 11 months. MPI of 50 per cent appropriate to denounce and deter.
Case name
Case number
[2022] NZHC 2390
Date of Judgment
16 September 2022
Summary
Sentence of life imprisonment with a minimum period of imprisonment of 15 and a half years for murder in the context of a domestic relationship, together with other serious violent offending against the same victim and other victims. Starting point of 17 years for the minimum period of imprisonment reduced by one year for guilty pleas, and six months for social/cultural factors.
Case number
[2022] NZHC 2366
Date of Judgment
15 September 2022
Summary
High Court says rule prohibiting sexual activity between male prisoners at the special treatment units for child sex offenders is valid and not unlawfully discriminating against prisoners because of their sexual orientation.

Nation J was satisfied there was good reason for the rule.

The blanket protection against sexual activity between prisoners protected prisoner from harm, and helped with the therapeutic and rehabilitative aims of the programmes. He noted the way the programmes had been successful in reducing reoffending, and said those leading the programmes should be supported in the decisions they had made as to the benefits to be obtained from the rule and the need for it.
Case name
Case number
[2022] NZHC 2365
Date of Judgment
15 September 2022
Summary
Sentencing. The defendant pleaded guilty to murdering his 64-year-old landlady by bludgeoning her with a hockey stick.

Result: A sentence of life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 13 years imposed.
Case number
[2022] NZHC 2280
Date of Judgment
07 September 2022
Summary
Urgent application an interim order restraining the second respondent from conducting a 1080 drop in an area near the applicant lodge, on conditions that the lodge would have to cease operating for a period. 

Held that the lodge had a position to preserve as it would be required to cease operating for a period if relief was denied. Merits of the applicant's claim for judicial review were weak. Decision of the first respondent to impose conditions on the permission to drop 1080 did not appear to be procedurally unsound, nor unreasonable. Repercussions to students unable to attend the lodge were outweighed by the public interest factors supporting the 1080 drop going ahead as scheduled. Application dismissed.
Case number
[2022] NZHC 2277
Date of Judgment
07 September 2022
Summary
High Court makes declaration that Mr Putua was arbitrarily detained (contrary to s 22 of NZBORA) for 33 days, and awards him $11,000 NZBORA damages.