Justice and the Court of Appeal’s Consideration in the Clotworthy
Te Oritenga Restorative Justice Group, Director: Justice Alternatives,
Restorative Justice Contemporary Themes & Practices,
Restorative Justice Trust
koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa. Kia ora tatou te whanau.
paper discusses the Court of Appeal’s examination of restorative justice in R v Clotworthy,
identifies limitations in the Court of Appeal’s analysis, and seeks to expand
the focus to a wider examination of restorative justice principles including
possible benefits for Maori.
that Maori figure disproportionately in the crime and incarceration rates,1
this paper posits how adoption of restorative justice principles might make the
law accessible, and therefore more meaningful, for Maori. Other jurisdictions,
including Canada, have recognised the over-representation of aboriginal
offenders in penal institutions and have amended their legislation to include
restorative principles with the hope of reducing aboriginal prison numbers.
Is amendment required to our criminal justice system?
v Clotworthy15 CRNZ 651 CA
The victim was walking past the offender on an Auckland street in the early hours of the morning. Unprovoked, the intoxicated offender attacked the victim and demanded money. He then proceeded to slash the victim with a knife, cutting his face and stabbing him in the chest and stomach. The victim received six stab wounds and underwent surgery. This left permanent scarring. Judge Thorburn in the District Court described the offender’s behaviour as ‘utterly bizarre, defying explanation, understanding or any intelligent appreciation.2
The offender pleaded guilty. Sentencing was delayed while a restorative justice conference was held to ascertain reparation possibilities for the purposes of s11 Criminal Justice Act 1985.
The conference resulted in the victim accepting the offender’s sincere apology. The victim wanted cosmetic surgery for the severe scarring. The offender offered to assist with the cost. Consequently the offender agreed to pay $25,000 to the victim for surgery by way of reparation. The victim was adamant the offender should not go to jail.
Judge Thorburn in the District Court ordered $15,000 as reparation for the victim. He further imposed a suspended sentence of 2 years together with 200 hours community service. The rationale behind the Judge’s sentencing principles displays an insightful awareness of the principles of restorative justice and giving effect to them.
It is worth reviewing Judge Thorburn’s sentencing notes for the flavour of restorative justice and then considering the Court of Appeal’s acknowledgement that the restorative aspects can have, as here, a significant impact on the length of the term of imprisonment, a statement affirming Judge Thorburn’s restorative approach 3
The judge chose to begin with an orthodox approach to sentencing in establishing the starting sentence. However in determining where the ‘final resting place can be on a best case scenario for the prisoner,’ he went on to consider restorative justice factors, the first being the victim’s views.4
“[I]n a rare and almost unbelievable communication from the victim, it is clear that he does not see any benefit for society, himself or for the prisoner in a sentence of imprisonment ... The prisoner has had the privilege of meeting a human being in Mr [C] who must surely be able to be described as one of the finest that he can expect to meet in his life. The victim does not see any benefit in a festering agenda of vengeance or retribution in his heart against the prisoner.”
Judge acknowledged the victim cannot determine the sentence.
However true to restorative justice principles the victim’s views
played a part in the ‘justice’ of the sentences 5
“[F]or the life of Mr [C], the victim, there is, I think, more to be achieved in terms of justice from his perception by keeping the prisoner at large ... The court’s role goes beyond that of the wishes of a victim, but this is one case where in my view some fairly firm and noticeable emphasis on the victim’s attitude and wishes are permissible.”
considered the factors concerning the victim, the Judge went on to consider the
restorative elements of the offender relevant to sentencing. The first was the guilty plea, the important trigger for
restorative justice processes. Judge
Thorburn proceeded to distinguish the character of the offender from offenders
in other similar cases to justify his application of restorative justice in this
am prepared to describe him apart from this particular shameful matter, as a
good citizen. The overwhelming
preponderance of cases in which the sentences for wounding with intent to cause
grievous bodily harm have been addressed, have had before the court people of
horrible prior criminal history, who have demonstrated an entrenched trait of
lawlessness. ... The deterrent aspect of sentencing obviously is a major and
predominant factor in dealing with such offenders. I suggest that for the
prisoner before this court, that issue of deterrence really is almost non
judge considered in detail the deterrence aspect of sentencing.
This issue will be addressed in detail later. He then considered the restorative justice report in
discounting the sentence. His
comments are indicative of the aims of restorative justice. 7
Restorative Justice report makes it very clear that they had intimate and
personal communications which could well have achieved more by way of healing of
attitudes than anything else.”
accepting the recommendation of reparation, Judge Thorburn commented that this
was the best that could be expected in good faith from a man with limited means.
Finally, in adopting a utilitarian approach of maximising benefits, the
judge undertook a holistic view of the realities presented by the various
into account too the attitude of the victim, one asks the question - what is to
be achieved in this particular case by a sentence of imprisonment to commence
today? Firstly, there would be the
debt to the taxpayer of somewhere between $40-$90,000 per year ... Secondly,
there would be literally no tangible or realistic benefit to the victim
personally - no actual justice.
Thirdly, there would be havoc wreaked upon the prisoners small, fragile family... Fourthly, there would be
little and probably no prospect of any further reparation beyond the $5,000
there is no serious concern that there should be deterrence personally for the
then the only purpose served in this particular case by an
unsuspended sentence of imprisonment, would be to satisfy that perceived
community need for the court to be punitive.” [Authors emphasis]
the prisoner was a person who had demonstrated wild and obvious traits of
lawlessness in his life, irresponsibility in his personal relationships and was
generally making little contribution to the community and not likely to in the
future, things would be different ... The community …can relax without
worrying about unresolved issues of justice as between the parties...there is
nothing really to be achieved in the community’s interests by sentencing in
any other way than that which has been suggested after the Restorative Justice
The Solicitor-General appealed the sentence imposed in the District Court on the grounds that the offending was too serious for a suspended sentence. The Crown submitted the minimum sentence that could be imposed was one of 3 ½ years imprisonment because the serious nature of the offence was governed by s5 Criminal Justice Act 1985. This eliminated the prospect of suspension as it was beyond the maximum of two years which can be suspended.
Section 5 of the Criminal Justice Act 1995 requires a full time custodial sentence to be imposed, unless the sentencing Judge is satisfied that because of the special circumstances of the offence, the offender should not be so sentenced.
The Court of Appeal accepted the Crown’s contention. However the court made significant statements regarding restorative justices 9
would not want this judgement to be seen as expressing any general opposition to
the concept of restorative justice (essentially the policies behind ss 11 and 12 of the Criminal Justice Act 1985).
Those policies must, however, be balanced against other sentencing
policies, particularly in this case those inherent in s5, dealing with cases of
serious violence. Which aspect
should predominate will depend on an assessment of where the balance should lie
in the individual case. Even if the
balance is found, as in this case, to lie in favour of s5 policies, the
restorative aspects can have, as here, a significant impact on the length of the
term of imprisonment which the Court is directed to impose.
They find their place in the ultimate outcome in that way.”
The Court considered the appropriate starting point for the case was five years imprisonment. However in the balancing exercise, this was reduced to three years in conjunction with $5,000 reparation.
Limitations of the Court of Appeal’s Decision in R v Clotworthy.
Tipping for the Court of Appeal endorsed restorative justice policies by
affirming them as
part of the balancing exercise in sentencing. The other significant policy factor considered by
the Court was that of “public interest” in deterrence of others.
This public interest was found to outweigh the restorative justice
While the judgement is positive affirmation of restorative justice, the
Court’s analysis of restorative justice must be seen as superficial.
By focusing narrowly on reparation, the Court of Appeal failed to seize
the opportunity to fully consider restorative justice principles.
It is acknowledged the grounds of the appeal identified reparation as the
essential aspect of this particular case. However,
in order to effectively consider restorative justice in the balancing exercise,
restorative justice must necessarily be considered in its entirety.
Restorative justice is a holistic process where each element plays an
essential role in achieving its policies. 10
Court of Appeal may have avoided an in-depth analysis of restorative justice
principles because the term describes different concepts of processes,
programmes and philosophy leading to confusion about the principles, goals and
intentions of restorative justice.11
Their Honours would have found the task easier if they had viewed
restorative justice as a tool for examining crime and the appropriate response
to crime, rather than focusing just on reparation.
Extensive literature focuses on the characteristics of restorative justice. 12 The resulting central philosophy has three fundamental propositions:13
Crime injures individuals and the community.
The criminal justice system should help repair those injuries.
The state monopoly over society’s response to crime needs
revisiting, with involvement of victims, offenders and their communities as
early and fully as possible.
The propositions are better illustrated through Howard Zehr’s restorative lens of justice. Thus crime violates, harms people and relationships in relational terms. The aim of justice is to identify the obligations created from the violation, meet the needs of individuals and the community, to promote healing. Consequently the process of repairing damage involves victims, offenders and the community in identifying obligations, needs and solutions, through maximising the exchange of information by dialogue and mutual agreement. 14
Restorative justice recognises that crime harms victims, offenders and communities. Hence restorative justice seeks to give each party an important role in developing ways to ‘restore’ or ‘repair’ the damage.15 Viewing restorative justice in this way identifies how narrow the Court of Appeal’s reasoning was in only focusing on the reparation aspect of restorative justice. Had the Court of Appeal analysed the wider aspects, their balance and interpretation of the public interest in deterrence may have differed.
The divergence between Judge Thorburn and the Court of Appeal arose out of the Courts’ differing interpretations of deterrence involved in sentencing policies. District Judge Thorburn assessed deterrence on the circumstances of the case. 16
“[T]he sending of a deterrent message to the community in order to meet a conceptual idea of deterrence at large rather than to the individual I have thought about. I wonder if the community at large would really have any sense of betrayal or repugnance if a significant discount was applied in this case where the prisoner and his victim might appear, to all intents an purposes, to be able to say they have nothing unresolved between them anymore.”
Judge Thorburn identifies two elements to deterrence:
Deterrence to the individual
Deterrence to the community at large, the public interest element.
The rationale of Judge Thorburn on deterrence is consistent with other
commentators’ critique of the effectiveness of deterrence as a major
justice proponents doubt that deterrent sentences achieve their purpose.
Intending offenders, presumed to have learned of such sentences, need to
have them uppermost in their minds at the moment they are about to offend.
While law-abiding citizens who read the papers might be so deterred,
there is no evidence offenders are (crime is on the rise)...The court speaks its
deterrent language on our behalf. In
fear for our security, we assume the court is right.
Or do we?”
don’t. What is “the public
interest in deterrence?” It is the community’s interest in its own safety. That is the public interest the Court is talking about ....
community safety. The question is,
do harsher sentences deter others and make the community safer?
The answer seems to be no.” 18
it is reasonable to assume that the very existence of the criminal justice
system has some deterrent value, there is little evidence to support the view
that increasing the level of sentences will deter the individual offender or
would-be-offenders in general” 19
This contrasts sharply with the approach adopted by the Court of Appeal. Deterrence was assessed on the public interest involved in the nature of the offence. Analysis of the personal deterrent element is noticeable in its absence from the Court of Appeal reasoning on deterrence, even though it was put before the court. The Court choose instead to focus on the public aspect of deterrence.20
“[I]t must be said, however, that a wider dimension must
come into the sentencing exercise than simply the position as between victim and
offender. The public interest in
... deterrence of others are [sic] factors of major importance.”
The court’s rationale displays an assumption that deterrence of the community at large is only achievable by a custodial sentence and restorative justice does not involve this form of deterrence. One has to question the validity of this assumption. The restorative plan proposed carried with it a considerable financial burden on Mr Clotworthy. Others might be deterred from having to carry this burden.
if general deterrence is more illusory than real, personal deterrence is not.
A harsh sentence can deter the incorrigible violent offender by locking
him away from the community. Such a
sentence is not necessary in the case of a basically law-abiding citizen who
offends, however spectacularly, once or infrequently.
Such a person, like Mr Clotworthy, by experiencing his victim’s pain in
the restorative justice conference, is deterred by this experience.
By an order to pay substantial reparation, he is further deterred......
by the monetary imposition, and then, weekly, by the reminder automatic bank
payments will be of the victim’s pain and his personal responsibility for it.
Restorative Justice processes thus provide an effective personal
deterrence. An offender has been
identified and deterred. Restorative Justice has made the community safer, and,
equally importantly, has healed a victim’s pain and physical wounds” 21
The Court of Appeal’s substitution of a deterrent custodial sentence effectively subordinates restorative justice policy of repairing harm to the victim and the community in favour of entrenched westernised criminal justice concepts of retribution, deterrence, adversarial concepts of guilt and innocence.
The Court’s adoption of the role as gatekeeper of public opinion in ascertaining policy functions of sentencing echoes a sense of unreality. In Clotworthy the victim and offender devised a restorative justice plan that they viewed as meeting the needs of all concerned. The adoption of this plan in the District Court, with minor modification, acknowledged the concerns of all parties. This legitimised the reasonableness of the outcome. In doing so the District Court implied recognising the deficiencies in the traditional criminal justice system in meeting the needs of the victim and community.
The Court of Appeal, however, succeeded in relegating the victim back to the periphery of the criminal justice system where they have been since the implementation of the westernised criminal justice system into New Zealand.
of the Decision in R v Clotworthy for
It is important to note that the defendant and the victim in this case,
Nonetheless, it is submitted there are two important aspects of the
decision indirectly affecting reform of criminal justice system, for the benefit
1. The legitimisation of Restorative Justice in sentencing; and
Inadequacies in the Court’s representation of public interest on the
The legitimisation of restorative justice policies creates an avenue to encompass traditional Maori restorative practices. 22 A restorative justice conference conducted to hear from all parties affected by an incident and helping to heal the victim, whanau and offender, will ultimately be a consideration in sentencing. This effect can be seen in the implementation of New Zealand’s youth justice system .23
Whether this is sufficient to meet the needs of Maori brings us to the second aspect of Clotworthy. The Court’s role in assessing the concerns of the community with respect to sentencing, identifies a deficiency in that role. Assumptions are made about public interest which fail to recognise the different cultural groups within the community. On the other hand, the community, as a whole, are expected to accept the Court’s representation of public interest. Arguably, the Court’s adoption of a public interest in traditional retributive justice fails to account for increasing dissatisfaction with this form of justice. Judge F. W. M. McElrea gives an insightful comment on the dissatisfaction with retributive justice 24
is my view that criminal justice has been divorced from the community for far
too long. Justice has come to be
seen as a contest between State and the defendant.
Largely ignored is the forgotten party, the victim, and the community to
which they both belong. Justice
should be something which we claim for ourselves and strive to enhance, but at
present the ordinary person feels little sense of ownership of justice.
It is seen as a legalistic system of rules governing this State v
Defendant contest. As a result
there is little incentive for anyone to take responsibility for the offending
itself or for putting right the wrong.”
Dissatisfaction is particularly prevalent within Maori communities. This is justified when one considers the alarming figures on the representation of Maori within our custodial institutions. 25 The Court must recognise this dissatisfaction when it purports to state what is in the public interest on our behalf. Recognition is beginning to occur within the lower courts. However, until this recognition is achieved at the higher level, reform of the criminal justice system to meet the concerns of Maori is likely to remain superficial.
It is interesting to reflect on a restorative justice conference held for four Maori offenders in 1995. This case concerned aggravated assault against two off-duty police officers. A series of whanau hui were held on the marae and a report forwarded to the Court.
mother of one of the offenders said she deplored and was visibly shamed by their
conduct. What they had done, she
said whether they chose to recognise it or not, was to jeopardise the mana of
their marae. She spoke of the
whakama for the whanau, hapu and iwi. That
shame would remain, she said, with or without prison.
It was a shame that only the young men could erase.
She sought the opportunity to have them take responsibility for their
shameful and senseless behaviour. She
acknowledged their past offending and that the marae forces should have been
mobilised long before. After
release from prison, the offenders returned to the marae where a further
restorative justice hui was held. The
whakama was released in a ceremony and
the kaumatua acknowledged not taking responsibility in the past and promised his support. The offenders were re-integrated back into their community and continue to be supported and strengthened by this.26
Te Whanau Awhina is a successful diversion programme in the criminal justice system which diverts Maori offenders to either marae-based programmes or programmes that cater for Maori clients. This programme is funded by the Crime Prevention Unit in partnership with Te Whanau Awhina employees.
Restorative Justice Processes Assist the State in Meeting its Obligations Under
Court of Appeal in New Zealand Maori
Council v Attorney General 27
issued a strong statement on the application of the Treaty of Waitangi.
The principles of the Treaty are to be applied, not the literal words, to
give effect to the Treaty. What
matters is the spirit of the Treaty not the differences in interpretation.
Consequently the Treaty signifies a partnership between the races.
The case centred on issues of Maori land claims.
However the Court recognised contemporary obligations of Treaty partners
Now the emphasis is much more on the need to preserve Maoritanga, Maori land and
communal life, a distinctive Maori identity’ 28
the approach of the Court of Appeal, arguably the obligation of the Crown to act
within the principles of the Treaty, encompasses facilitating the right to
self-determination within criminal justice for Maori.
rangatiratanga in Article II of the Treaty of Waitangi has been interpreted as
meaning the unqualified exercise of chieftainship which Maori retained over
their lands, villages and taonga. 29
Taonga is translated as treasures or anything highly prized, for example Maori
language and culture. Part of the
culture is the Maori system of custom and processes that ensure the protection
of individuals, the stability of social life and the integrity of the collective
since the signing of the Treaty the collective cultural infrastructures of iwi
and hapu have given way to the Western system of justice. Consequently iwi and hapu social and political customary
practices for governance based on justice or fairness have floundered in the 20th
Century. The result is there has
been a gradual silencing of Maori justice through colonisation. 31
Treaty and the constitution are indivisible and provide the basic principles of
governance. The need for compliance
with Treaty principles is something which the legislature, executive and
judiciary are aware. The fact that
Maori rights are part of the laws of New Zealand of which the judiciary are
sworn to uphold requires the Court to develop alternatives to criminal justice
policies that meet Maori customary rights. 32
Recognising individual rights and democratic processes in relation to indigenous
issues surrounding criminal justice will not be enough.
The right of indigenous people to participate in the criminal justice
system according to their customary practices requires acceptance that justice
can be served from more than one perspective.
Restorative justice provides one alternative.
While it is not solely a Maori system of justice, restorative justice
provides a complementary system which incorporates and gives effect to the
values and aspirations of both Treaty partners.
Recognition legislatively and judicially of this cannot be too far into
Are Restorative Justice Processes More Effective in Meeting the Needs of
What is a Restorative Process?
critical elements of the process are those of a meeting between all those
involved in the offence (victims, offenders, families, friends and significant
others), the participation of all those involved in a search for a way of
resolving the harm that has been done, acknowledgement by those responsible for
the harm of their role in the offence and for all these events to occur in a
context which is culturally relevant and respecting of all participants.”
critical outcomes are about making amends for the harm, and increasing the
chances of re-integration of victims and offenders into the community by
restoring connectedness.” 33
Maori are dissatisfied with and have little confidence in the criminal justice system. 34 Many different ideas have been implemented to give justice more meaning for Maori including the appointment of lay advocates, consultation with Maori within the existing system, holding meetings on the marae and so on. Many of these initiatives have added meaning but the essence lies in the ‘restoration of authority to the community and transfer of the focus from the individual to the group’.35
Historically, Maori operated under a system based on tikanga (justice or fairness as evidenced in customary practice). The interests of the whanau or hapu were important rather than the interests of the individual . 36
system imposed responsibility for wrongdoing on the family of an offender, not
just the individual, and so strengthened the sense of reciprocal group
obligation. The consequences of an
individual or group action could therefore rebound on the whanau, the hapu, or
even iwi, since the ancestral precedents which established the sanction also established the
kinship ties of responsibility and duty. Thus
the use of muru enabled justice to not only be done, but to manifestly be seen
to be done by all members of both the offender’s and victim’s whanau.
The ever-present influence of tapu created a group consciousness about
behaviour which was tika or correct .... These concepts were a consistent body
of theory and sanction upon which the society depended. Sanctions imposed for
any infringement aimed to restore the balance between the individual, the group,
and the ancestors. Thus the whanau
of the offender was made aware of its shared responsibility, that of the victim
was given reparation to restore it to its proper place, and the ancestors were
appeased by the acceptance of the precedents they had laid down.”
The New Zealand Law Commission recently completed a study to assist those involved in justice institutions to respond better to the needs and values of Maori women. The study examines the impact of laws, legal procedures and delivery of legal services on family and domestic relationships, violence against women and the economic position of women. There was an extensive programme of consultation with Maori women. 37
Some of their views are as follows:
On the family group conference (FGC)
“I really believe the
FGCs are working quite well. They
give the whanau a chance to talk.”
“One conference I was
involved in, had Maori protocol which was really important to me as Maori.”
“I wanted to take the
FGC back on our marae. Because they
are from our marae and our people know what is best for them.”
the legal system
“Whanau concepts need to be acknowledged by
the legal system.”
“The court system is a real barrier.
It is like you-do-as-I-tell-you.”
“Maori women are
lacking confidence in the legal system which is not effectively doing what it
promises to do.”
On Restorative Justice
only way to stop the cycle of abuse or offending is by dealing with the
behaviour problem and the individual. Not
by ostracising them in jail.”
The concerns raised in this study can effectively be met through restorative processes. This has been recognised by the New Zealand Maori Council .38
restorative system can be the basis for ensuring that authority is given to
people within their communities to take responsibility for all their own
members, including victims offenders and families.
It can allow for meaningful input from the people themselves and for
responsibility to be restored to the social group.”
Essential elements to include in a new system based on restorative processes to give effect to the concerns of Maori within the criminal justice system have been identified as follows:39
“[G]ive Maori a stake in the justice system by giving then
control of the decision-making process;
Properly identify the communities to which Maori belong and where
their offending must be dealt with;
Allow Maori to identify those who should take responsibility for
Formally recognise the validity of community process as a
legitimate alternative to adjudicatory process;
Restore communities to set up restorative justice processes and to
provide for outcomes agreed to through the process;
Develop the resources within the communities to provide for the
needs of families and children before offending occurs;
Provide for safety nets within the community that will lessen the
chances of offending, monitor those at risk and develop community supports;
Develop rules about when back-up systems can be used to provide
for partial, temporary or permanent withdrawal of offenders from the community
through adjudicatory process when this is the only method likely to protect the
safety of citizens.”
While the objectives are given for a new system of justice, the New Zealand Maori Council recognises they may be supported through integration of restorative justice into the current criminal justice system.
from Clotworthy ?
This paper has argued restorative justice is
appropriate for meeting the concerns raised with
respect to Maori within our criminal justice
system. The issue is whether we are
content to rely
on judicial interpretation of restorative
justice for its application, is legislative reform required to
interests in criminal justice ?
Judicial interpretation cannot be relied upon to give consistent
interpretation of restorative justice. Neither
can the judiciary be depended upon to consider restorative justice in its
at the Court of Appeal level illustrates how easy it is for the court to
compartmentalise restorative justice. Restorative
justice processes are here as affirmed in Clotworthy.
As a tool for examining crime and our response to crime it has
sufficient momentum to carry on into the future and remain at the forefront of
adult criminal policy development. However
to secure its effectiveness for Maori, legislative reform must be considered.
Current legislation, (in the Criminal Justice Act 1985) supports elements
of restorative justice. Notably,
application of the provisions is fragmented and limited to the pre-sentencing
stage or as sentencing options. 40
Only section 16 allows ethnic or cultural matters relating to the offence
or to avoiding re-offending to be put before the court.
As has been noted elsewhere this provision has been under-utilised 41.
Consequently, it is insufficient to secure cultural practices for dealing with
the effects of crime. Reluctant as
the writer is to see restorative justice brought under the umbrella of a
legislative framework, in this situation the potential benefits warrant such an
approach. To justify this
assertion, the writer offers the Canadian implementation of restorative justice
into sentencing legislation, by way of an example.
In the Canadian Criminal Code Section 718 contains objectives supporting the fundamental purpose of sentencing. 42 Some of these restate basic sentencing aims while others focus on restorative goals.
s718. The fundamental purpose of sentencing is to contribute, along with crime prevention initiatives, to respect for the law and the maintenance of a just, peaceful and safe society by imposing just sanctions that have one or more of the following objectives:
to denounce unlawful conduct;
to deter the offender and other persons from committing offences;
to separate offenders from society, where necessary;
to assist in rehabilitating offenders;
to provide reparation for hard done to victims or to the community and
to promote a sense of responsibility in offenders, and acknowledgement of
the harm done to victims and to the community.
The restorative aspects of the above sentencing aims have
been interpreted recently by the Canadian Court of Appeal in R
v Gladue, where they held :43
is new, though, are paras. (e) and (f), which along with para. (d) focus upon
the restorative goals of repairing the harms suffered by individual victims and
by the community as a whole, promoting a sense of responsibility and an
acknowledgement of the harm caused on the part of the offender, and attempting
to rehabilitate or heal the offender.... In our view, Parliament’s choice to
include (e) and (f) alongside the traditional sentencing goals must be
understood as evidencing an intention to expand the parameters of the sentencing
analysis for all offenders. The
principle of restraint expressed in s. 718.2(e) will necessarily be informed by
Relevant to our purpose is s718.2(e). This is legislative recognition of the unique systemic and background factors of indigenous people. Like Maori, they are more adversely affected by incarceration and less likely to be rehabilitated due to the culturally inappropriate nature of penal institutions.
s 718.2 A court that imposes a sentence shall also take into consideration the following principles:
all available sanctions other than imprisonment that are reasonable in
the circumstances should be considered for all offenders, with particular
attention to the circumstances of aboriginal offenders.
purpose of s718.2(e) was approved by the Court in the following factum before
the court. 44
“[s.] 718.2.(e) provides the necessary flexibility and authority for sentencing judges to resort to the restorative model of justice in sentencing aboriginal offenders and to reduce the imposition of jail sentences where to do so would not sacrifice the traditional goals of sentencing.”
discussing the legislative intention for this section, the court made a powerful
statement representing concerns analogous to the situation of Maori within the
criminal justice system of New Zealand. It
is worth quoting this statement in full: 45
“[It] is clear that sentencing innovation by itself cannot remove the causes of aboriginal offending and the greater problem of aboriginal alienation from the criminal justice system. The unbalanced ratio of imprisonment for aboriginal offenders flows from a number of sources, including poverty, substance abuse, lack of education, and lack of employment opportunities for aboriginal people. It arises also from bias against aboriginal people and from an unfortunate institutional approach that is more inclined to refuse bail and impose more and longer prison terms for aboriginal offenders. There are many aspects of this sad situation which cannot be addressed in these reasons. What can and must be addressed, though, is the limited role that sentencing judges will play in remedying injustice against aboriginal peoples in Canada. Sentencing judges are among those decision-makers who have the power to influence the treatment of aboriginal offenders in the justice system. They determine most directly whether an aboriginal offender will go to jail, or whether other sentencing options may be employed which will play perhaps a stronger role in restoring a sense of balance to the offender, victim, and community, and in preventing future crime.”
attraction of incorporating a section similar to s718 into our Criminal Justice
Act is the legitimisation of restorative justice and engaging its use
appropriately to Maori community justice initiatives when sentencing Maori
offenders. New Zealand was praised
for its initiative of introducing restorative justice practices into youth
justice. We were thought of as
world leaders in this area. However
with the steps taken by the Canadian legislature, we are now lagging behind in
this area for adult and indigenous offenders.
It is strongly recommended that New Zealand should reform the Criminal
Justice Act to integrate restorative justice and its application for Maori
offenders explicitly into legislation.
government proposal for a restorative justice pilot scheme recognises the growth
and momentum of restorative justice practices.
Governmental support followed consideration of restorative justice in a
discussion paper and subsequent public submissions.46
The question is how are restorative justice policies best implemented.
The New Zealand Maori Council has suggested essential elements of a
system of criminal justice to facilitate integration of restorative justice
processes consistent with Maori perspectives 47.
Paramount to the success of integration for Maori is they must be
included in the decision-making process concerning reform.
the cabinet paper and New Zealand Maori Council suggest a series of pilots. 48
This should be developed carefully with continued evaluation.
Public education on restorative justice philosophy, fundamental elements
and the benefits and risks involved, is the first step in securing a restorative
justice process for Maori and other adult offenders.
burden for public education must fall on the state.
The appropriate role of the state is to articulate the vision,
disseminate information and provide support and technical assistance for
development of restorative practices. Implementing
a pilot programme, public speaking forums, and distribution of written material
will demonstrate the application of restorative principles.
The state has a social responsibility to monitor outcomes, and ensure
fairness, equity and effectiveness of restorative processes.
of restorative justice will not result in a new criminal justice system.
However integration will improve the current system for Maori.
Thus restorative justice can fulfil its potential as an alternative way
for Maori to deal with crime.
The justice system has failed to meet the needs of Maori.
The consequence is that Maori have no confidence in the current system.
The law fails to recognise that relationships between people are still
central for Maori. While the
justice sector continues to ignore substantive issues such as Maori cultural
values and what is in the public interest, the community and particularly the
Maori community remain alienated and at risk.
In Canada, the Criminal Code was amended to give aboriginal offenders distinct sentencing treatment via restorative justice processes. Although sentencing innovation in and of itself does not effect the causes of crime, such amendments allow sentencing judges to influence the treatment of aboriginal offenders.
determine most directly whether an aboriginal offender will go to jail, or
whether other sentencing options may be employed which will perhaps play a
stronger role in restoring the balance to the offender, the victim, and the
community, and in preventing future crime”..49
Justice should seek to:
· respect relationships between people (whanaungatanga)
· support the obligation to care for one another (manaakitanga),
· maintain group authority (rangatiratanga)
· achieve unity through consensus(kotahitanga)
· respect the spirituality at the centre of all actions and relationships (wairuatanga)
requires many things, including an attitude of respect for others, a desire to
mend the tear in the fabric of the community caused by crime, and a belief that
the law is there for the benefit of all. Law-makers,
therefore, have a responsibility to seek to promote a just regime”.50
The restorative system can be the basis for ensuring that authority is given to people within their communities to take responsibility for all their own members, including victims, offenders and families. It can allow for meaningful input from the people themselves and for responsibility to be restored to the social group. The state system can provide the ability to protect when other strategies fail.51
If the Court of Appeal is the gate-keeper of public interest, perhaps it is time for it to take a proactive role in exploring other sentencing options, examining more closely the relevance of “general deterrence”, if anything, and ensuring that the law benefits all members of our society, including victims and offenders.
The concluding remark must go to Judge Thorburn, whose pro-active role the higher courts are encouraged to adopt:52
consider that whilst the Crown has put me in touch with cases that give fairly
messages about sentencing in this area of offending, the Crown does not appear
to have felt any need or interest in establishing a drivenness about the
particulars of this case to ensure that the full and punitive side of the
sentencing is really emphasised to the exclusion of anything else.”
Justice in law is not a collection of binding precedents alone; it should also be a vehicle of hope for victims, offenders and the community, including Maori. The Court of Appeal is not bound by its previous judgements. It can lead the way to a more peaceful, harmonious and inclusive community.
authors wish to extend their appreciation to Mihi Mariu for her unique
contribution as conscience and guide in tikanga Maori.
1 Ministry of Justice Figures, 1998, Apprehension Rates 1998 -Maori Women
44.4%, Men 37%, yp 47.3%, Maori Offender Prosecution Rates 1998 - 48. 1%.
R v Clotworthy
Unreported, Judge S A Thorburn, T 971545, 24 April
R v Clotworthy [19981 15 CRNZ 651, 661.
Supra note 2, 4 –5
Supra note 4.
R v Clotworthy  15 CRNZ 651, 652
For full discussion on the holistic approach of Restorative Justice see
McElrea F.W.M (ed), Re-thinking
Criminal Justice Vol 1 Justice in the Community (1995).
Ministry of Justice New Zealand, Restorative Justice The Public Submissions
Marshall T F, ‘Seeking the Whole
Justice’ (1997) ISTD Conference Bristol University
Van Ness & Strong, Restoring
Justice (1997) 3 1.
Zehr Howard, “Rethinking Criminal Justice: Restorative Justice” in
McElrea F.W.M (ed), Re-thinking
Criminal Justice Vol 1 Justice in the Community (1995) 8-9.
Bowen Helen & Consedine Jim (eds), Restorative Justice Contemporary
Themes and Practices (1998).
note 2, 7.
Boyack, Jim ‘How Sayest the Court of Appeal’ in  Bowen Helen &
Consedine Jim (eds), Restorative Justice
and Practices (1998), 69.
Boyack, Jim, Private communication to Helen Bowen as editor Restorative Justice Contemporary Themes
and Practices, 19 October 1998.
Sentencing Policy and Guidance, Draft Discussion Paper, Ministry of Justice,
Supra note 3, 659
21 Supra note 18.
Consedine Jim, Restorative Justice Healing the Effects of Crime (1995), 82
Mc Elrea F.W.M, “Restorative Justice.
The New Zealand Youth Court: A Model for Development in Other
Courts” in Public Sector (1994) 17(3).
Ibid at 6 1
P. Spier, Convictions and Sentencing of Offenders in NZ; 1985-1994,
Department of Justice, 1995.
T 53/95, 7/7/95, Unreported, Auckland District Court.
New Zealand Maori Council v Attorney General  1 NZLR 641.
Ibid, per Cooke P (as he was then), 664.
New Zealand Maori Council, ‘Restorative Justice: A Maori Perspective’ in
Bowen Helen & Consedine Jim (eds), Restorative
Justice Contemporary Times and Practices (1 998), 26.
Ward, A. A Show of justice: Racial
Amalgamation in 19th Century New Zealand, 2d ed, (1995),
Auckland University Press, Auckland.
Hon. Justice Baragwanath, Treaty of
Waitangi Issues – the Last Decade and Next century, April 1997, New
Zealand Law Society, Seminar
Maxwell, Gabrielle. Restorative
Process and Outcome: Emerging theories of restorative justice - Changing
Hearts and Minds, Wellington- November 1998.
Jackson, Moana. The Maori in
the Criminal Justice System: He Whaipaanga Hou-A
New Perspective, Department of Justice, (1988).
New Zealand Maori Council, ‘Restorative Justice: A Maori Perspective’ in
Bowen Helen & Consedine Jim (eds), Restorative
Justice Contemporary Themes and Practices (1998), 26.
Jackson, Moana in Trapski’s Family
Law, CYPF (1988)YI.2. 01.
Law Commission Report 53 Justice - The Experience of Maori Women - Te
Tikanga o te Ture - Te Matauranga a nga Wahine Maori e pa ana ki tenei.
Supra note 35.
Criminal Justice Act 1985.
Bowen, Helen, ‘Section 16: submissions in relation to cultural matters’
in October 1998 Law Talk. 507.
Criminal Code, R.S.C., 1985, c.C-46, s. 718.
43 R v
Gladue [unreported] CA File No. 26300.1999: April 23.
For discussion on different
models see Ministry of Justice New Zealand, Restorative
Justice: A Discussion Paper (1995) 11.
New Zealand Maori Council, ‘Restorative Justice: A Maori Perspective’ in
Bowen Helen & Consedine Jim (eds), Restorative
and Practices (1998), 33.
49 R v
Gladue [unreported] CA File No. 26300.1999: April 23, 65.
McElrea, F Judge, ‘Taking Responsibility in Being Accountable’ in Bowen
Helen & Consedine Jim (eds), Restorative
Justice Contemporary Themes and Practices( 1998), 62.
Supra note 47, 26.
Supra note 2, 5-6.