New Zealand's higher courts have again ruled on a Greymouth man relying on Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson's 1840 proclamation declaring British sovereignty over Aotearoa - except this time he argued the decree was "garbage".
Allistair Patrick Brooker, known for winning a free speech argument in the Supreme Court over a conviction for protesting and serenading a police officer outside her home, has been denied leave by the Court of Appeal in an attempt to overturn another conviction - for defacing the Greymouth Police Station.
Brooker was convicted of defacing a building in the Greymouth District Court in May last year. His appeal to the High Court was dismissed and yesterday he was denied leave to apply to the Court of Appeal.
The grounds for the appeal, Booker claimed, relied on the proclamation by Hobson on January 30, 1840, which declared that full sovereignty over New Zealand vests in the British Crown.
Hobson, who died in 1842, was a British naval officer and served as the first Governor of New Zealand. He was also a co-author of the Treaty of Waitangi, signed on February 6, just days after his proclamation.
Appearing via video during the May 2 Court of Appeal hearing and representing himself, Brooker said the proclamation was "garbage" because Māori did not cede sovereignty to the Crown, meaning Hobson had no basis to proclaim it.
As a result, he said, all Acts of Parliament were also unlawful.
It was not the first time Brooker has used the proclamation to make a legal argument, however, he had changed his stance on Hobson's claim.
In 2014, Brooker, when appealing a conviction under the Land Transport Act, told the Court of Appeal that the legislation was unlawful because New Zealand's parliament had no authority to enact it.
He said Hobson's proclamation specifically precludes any sovereign power in New Zealand other than the British Crown.
When giving the Court of Appeal's reasons for dismissing Brooker's appeal over defacing the police station, Justice Timothy Brewer simply referred to the court's earlier decision.
"Despite his change of argument, the position for Mr Brooker is the same as set out by this Court in 2014," the judge said.
"The proposed appeal involves the application of well-settled law. The courts have consistently held that challenges to the sovereignty of Parliament, and validity of Acts of
Parliament (whether in the context of Māori sovereignty arguments, or any other challenge to the sovereignty of the New Zealand Parliament) cannot succeed."
Brooker's Supreme Court win in 2007, against a disorderly behaviour conviction, followed his arrest for singing protest songs and playing a guitar outside Constable Fiona Croft's West Coast home in 2003.
The 15-minute-long demonstration, after police searched his home, also saw him hold a placard which read "Stop the Bogus Warrants".
Lyrics to his songs included: "Safer communities together, Fiona"; "Freedom from unreasonable search and seizure"; "You just don't know when to quit – no more 3am visits, Fiona"; and "Too many bogus warrants, no more malicious prosecutions".
The Supreme Court ruled by majority that Brooker's behaviour had not been disruptive of public order and therefore was not disorderly as defined by law.
Brooker had argued the Bill of Rights gives everyone the right to freedom of expression, and told the court he attended the Bastion Point demonstration as a 10-year-old and anti-nuclear protests in Auckland.