It was confirmed this week at the inaugural meeting of the Human Rights Lawyers Association that Mervyn Chapman will shortly be taking a complaint to the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva. Speaker Grant Illingworth QC announced his Chamber’s partner Rodney Harrison QC would be fronting the complaint.
Chapman was one a number of convicted parties in the 1990’s whose appeal was denied on what the Privy Council later ruled was a systemically unlawful “ex parte” regime, where parties who could not afford an appeal had their appeals dismissed by the New Zealand Court of Appeal without hearing, often on the signature of a Registrar.
Chapman’s conviction was overturned subsequent to the Privy Council Ruling in 2002. Chapman later sued the judiciary for a breach of his civil rights and right to due process. Last September, the New Zealand Supreme Court (which replaced the Privy Council in 2004 as New Zealand’s highest court) ruled that the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 cannot be enforced against judicial acts, claiming such legal remedies threaten judicial independence.