Next steps in Criminal Cases Review Commission announced

Justice Minister Andrew Little and New Zealand First MP Darroch Ball, have today announced the appointment of the Chief Commissioner of the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the location, and the membership of the Establishment Advisory Group.

Colin Carruthers QC has been appointed Chief Commissioner of the CCRC for an 18-month term, effective from 1 February 2020, and will play a critical role in the establishment of the CCRC.

“Mr Carruthers brings a significant amount of mana and credibility to the role, having practised as a senior barrister in both defence and prosecution roles,” Andrew Little says.

“I am also pleased to announce that the CCRC will be based in Hamilton. As with CCRCs in England and Scotland, it is important the NZCCRC is independent from the big bureaucratic and judicial centres, Auckland and Wellington

“Establishing the CCRC was a commitment in the Labour New Zealand First Coalition agreement,” Andrew Little says.

"New Zealand First is proud to see the foundations being laid for the CCRC. This is a good sign for our justice system and look forward to further progress," says Darroch Ball New Zealand First spokesperson for Justice

Mr Carruthers will be supported by an Establishment Advisory Group, which will provide advice on the CCRC’s design to ensure consistency with the legislation. The Establishment Advisory Group members are:

  • Professor Tracey McIntosh – Professor of Indigenous Studies and Co-Head of Te Wānanga o Waipapa (School of Māori Studies and Pacific Studies) at the University of Auckland
  • Nigel Hampton CNZM, OBE, QC – internationally-applauded criminal defence lawyer
  • Professor Elisabeth McDonald – Professor of Criminal Law, Evidence and Procedure at the University of Canterbury
  • Dr Anna Sandiford -  Senior Forensic Science Consultant and Director of The Forensic Group Ltd
  • Dr Tamasailau Suaalii-Sauni – Associate professor of Criminology at the University of Auckland
  • Tim McKinnel – investigator and previously a detective with New Zealand Police

The CCRC will begin receiving applications for review of convictions and sentences when it becomes operational on 1 July 2020.

Additional information:

The CCRC is an independent body that will review criminal convictions and sentences where there is a claimed miscarriage of justice. It can refer cases back to the Court of Appeal, but it does not determine guilt or innocence. The CCRC will replace the referral power currently exercised by the Governor-General under section 406 of the Crimes Act 1961, part of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy. More information on the CCRC can be found by clicking here.

The CCRC will be overseen by a Board comprising a Chief Commissioner, a Deputy Commissioner, and between one and five Commissioners. Applications are currently open for the Commissioner roles, more information can be found on the Ministry of Justice statutory vacancies website.

Short biographies of the Establishment Advisory Group members and the terms of reference for the Establishment Advisory Group can be found by clicking here.

A short biography on Mr Carruthers can be found by clicking here.