Chapter 3 Disruptive behaviour in the courtroom
- R11 New statutory provisions dealing with disruptive behaviour in the court should:
- (a) Authorise the judge to deal with the immediate disruption by citing the person for disrupting the court and, if necessary, ordering the person to be taken into the court cells until the rising of the court that day.
- (b) Give the person the opportunity to exercise his or her right to consult and instruct a lawyer under section 24(c) of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.
- (c) Allow the person a reasonable opportunity to apologise to the court.
- (d) Require the judge to review the matter before the rising of the court that day and decide whether he or she considers further punishment may be necessary by having the matter set down for determination.
- (e) Apply the Bail Act 2000, with the necessary modifications, as if the person cited for disrupting the court was charged with an offence that carries the penalties required by that Act.
- (f) If the matter is set down for determination, require the judge to give the person written reasons specifying the behaviour the judge believes constitutes disruptive behaviour in the court and makes the person liable for further punishment.
- (g) If the matter is set down for determination, direct the judge to consider whether exceptional circumstances warrant a different judge hearing the case.
- (h) Give the judge hearing the case the discretion to receive any explanation offered by the person to ensure the case proceeds on a reliable factual platform.
- (i) Clarify that a person found guilty of, and punished for, disruptive behaviour in the court is not convicted of an offence.
- R12 Conduct giving rise to a potential determination of disruptive behaviour in court should be focused on conduct that interrupts proceedings and poses a threat to the due administration of justice.
- R13 On making a finding that a person is guilty of disruptive behaviour in court, the court may sentence the person to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 3 months or a fine not exceeding $10,000.
- R14 The Sentencing Act 2002 should apply in respect of any sentence imposed by the court under the new provision as if the person had been convicted of an offence.
- R15 Appeals against any finding that a person is guilty of disruptive behaviour under the new provision should be heard under subpart 5 of Part 6 (sections 260 to 269) of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011.
- R16 The new statutory provisions that deal with disruptive behaviour in court should apply to all courts, the Human Rights Tribunal, and any other tribunals that currently have the power to impose sanctions for disruptive behaviour.
- R17 The new statutory provisions dealing with disruptive behaviour in court should be located in a new Administration of Justice (Reform of Contempt of Court) Act.