14 Jul 2010

Complaint to Ombudsman over court searches

9:01 am on 14 July 2010

The Ombudsman is investigating a complaint about unlawful searches of people at two Wellington courts.

Lawyer Michael Bott lodged the complaint after security staff at Wellington and Porirua District Courts would not give a specific reason for wanting to search his bags in March.

He declined the search and was held back from representing his clients in court on both occasions.

In his complaint, Mr Bott says the officers are acting unlawfully and abusing their statutory power under the Court Security Act.

The Ministry of Justice says its policy on searches was not appropriately applied and it is considering an apology.