Judges breached my rights: Hunger striker

By Imran Ali

A Whangarei man who says he is on a hunger strike has written to the Judicial Conduct Commissioner to investigate alleged breaches of his New Zealand Bill of Rights entitlements by two Supreme Court judges, including Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias.

Former Australian diplomat John Colman, 63, says he has been on a 24/7 hunger strike since May 1 after a five-year battle with police and courts in a bid to overturn convictions for disorderly behaviour and using insulting language dating to 2008.

Mr Colman said he had not eaten since the start of the month, after informing Solicitor General Michael Heron of his planned course of action.

In 2009, the High Court discharged him without conviction on the charge of using offensive language after he swore at a man he said refused to leave his property. However, he has since unsuccessfully appealed the other conviction in the High Court, the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, which last week rejected leave to appeal.

He then wrote to Judicial Conduct Commissioner Sir David Gascoigne, asking him to investigate alleged breaches of the Bill of Rights by Justice Elias and Justice William Young.

A reasonably informed person, would believe he had been hoodwinked about his Bill of Rights entitlements by the Chief Justice and everyone junior to her, Mr Colman wrote.

"On the surface, our Chief Judge trumpets our Bill of Rights, but when push comes to shove, the Bill of Rights is not even a presence in her court. Dame Sian, especially for me, has placed her court, and herself, above the New Zealand constitution."

The case co-ordinator at Sir David's office, Sara Kraya, confirmed receiving Mr Colman's letter of complaint and said it would be examined.

Sir David requested that he provide details of particular alleged misconduct by each of the 16 judges he had complained about, rather than make allegations in broad, emphatic but general terms.

In an earlier letter to the Solicitor General, Mr Colman said he intended to maintain a hunger strike until his death in protest at the courts' failure to protect his entitlements under the Bill of Rights.


- Northern Advocate

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