30 Oct 2010

Parliament corrects law blunder

7:15 am on 30 October 2010

Parliament has corrected a legislative mistake that could have resulted in 46,000 cases of minor property convictions being overturned in court.

A 2008 amendment had intended to classify three property offences as summary offences - to be tried by a judge sitting alone - but it had the opposite effect.

The offences instead became indictable, meaning that charges like shoplifting or theft from a vehicle could only be tried by a judge and jury. Technically, a judge sitting alone had no jurisdiction over the cases.

Introducing the legislation on behalf of the Justice Minister Simon Power, Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson told Parliament all the convictions that might have been nullified have now been validated.