Police v D (Invercargill District Court, 1987)

Mr D was discharged at the conclusion of the preliminary hearing on a charge of murder. The case was gang related and took place in a climate of considerable tension in Invercargill.

R v H (Wellington High Court, 1989)

Ms H was charged with manslaughter. She was acquitted after establishing that the death was accidental. 

R v H (Nelson High Court, 1991)

Mr H was one of four men charged with murder. He was the only one of the accused to be completely acquitted

R v B (1991) 7 CRNZ 515

Mr B was charged in the Timaru High Court with murder.

The importance of the case is that it established the principle that the accused in a criminal trial is entitled to disclosure of the criminal convictions of Crown witnesses. The case also dealt with the issue of disclosure of criminal convictions of the deceased.

R v McF [1992] 1 NZLR 495; (1991) 7 CRNZ 358

Mr McF sought the disclosure, in a cocaine trial, of the precise location of listening devices. The issue involved the balancing of public interest immunity with the administration of justice.

R v Name suppressed (Wellington District Court, 1994)

The accused was a pharmacist charged with 42 counts of fraud upon the health subsidy scheme. After a trial running for several weeks the jury acquitted him on all charges. 

R v Name suppressed (Wanganui District Court, 1996)

A medical practitioner faced charges of fraud in relation to multiple alleged false claims on the health subsidy scheme. Half of the claims were removed from the case following a pretrial ruling that a search of the doctor’s surgery was unlawful and unreasonable. The doctor was acquitted by the jury on all charges relating to the balance of the claims following a trial running for several weeks. 

R v M (Wellington High Court, 1997)

Ms M was charged with the murder of her child. She was convicted of infanticide. The case attracted considerable publicity through out the country as it focused on issues of child neglect and maltreatment and the inadequate response of social agencies. A pretrial ruling, that impacted significantly on the outcome of the case, held that the court’s inherent jurisdiction could not be availed of to allow the use of a pre-recorded videotape as evidence in chief of a child who was not a direct complainant: R v M (1997) 15 CRNZ 267. 

R v X (Blenheim High Court, 1997)

Mr X was a pharmacist who was charged with drug offences after he supplied a homebaker with 60,000 panadeine tablets. A jury acquitted him on all charges.

The case drew attention to the inadequate resources provided by the health sector for the methadone treatment program for drug addicts, and the dilemmas faced by pharmacists in small towns in dealing with drug addicts.

R v S (Wellington District Court, 1998)

Dr S faced charges of fraud in relation to alleged false claims on the health subsidy scheme. The jury acquitted Dr S on all charges, following a trial that ran for several weeks.

R v H (Wellington High Court, 2000)

Mr H was a male model who was charged with the murder of Terri King at Mt Holdsworth in the Tararua Ranges.

The case involved fashion models, Ecstasy, international drug dealing, the Wellington nightclub scene and former South African special-forces police officers turned international criminals. The Dutch and Russian mafia also featured.

At the end of an eight-week, high profile and complex trial Mr H was acquitted.

R v H (Wellington High Court, 2000)

Mr H was acquitted on a rape charge where it was alleged he had drugged the complainant in a bar by adding a drug to her glass of champagne, for the purpose of having sexual intercourse with her. This was a high profile case attracting much media attention and public debate.

Police v Name suppressed (Upper Hutt District Court, 2002)

The defence successfully applied to have a prosecution for an alleged sex offence stayed on the basis of the state of health of the defendant.

R v T (Wellington High Court, 2002) 

Mr T was a prominent rugby league player charged with sexual violation and indecent assault, which were alleged to have occurred 10 years previously when he was 15 years old. He was acquitted on all charges. The case gave rise to public debate, which focused on issues relating to historical allegations of sexual offending and the issues that arise where an allegation is uncorroborated. 

R v D (Wellington District Court, 2003)

This was one of the first prosecutions in New Zealand alleging possession of the drug GHB (aka Fantasy) for supply.

Mr D was found in possession of one litre of Fantasy. The jury acquitted him after he established that he had the fantasy for his own use.

R v Lesley Martin (Wanganui High Court, 2004)

Lesley Martin, the prominent voluntary euthanasia law reform campaigner, was charged with two counts of attempted murder of her mother, after she published her book To Die Like A Dog in which she described the terminal illness and death of her mother.

The case attracted substantial national and international attention. It focused on failings in the health system and in particular on shortcomings in the palliative care provided by the health system to Ms Martin’s mother, Joy Martin. The case was conducted against a background of debate about voluntary euthanasia and law reform.

Ms Martin was acquitted on one of the two charges of attempted murder, but was convicted on the other. She was sentenced to imprisonment. The Parole Board declined to grant her home detention because she would not concede that her actions were wrong; indeed she considered them to be morally justifiable and driven by the highest humanitarian objectives. The Court of Appeal subsequently dismissed her appeal and the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal.

Having served her term of imprisonment Ms Martin continues with her campaign seeking voluntary euthanasia law reform.

Republic of Vanuatu v Q (Port Vila, Vanuatu, 2005)

Mr Q was charged with possession of drugs on a luxury yacht in Port Vila, Vanuatu and was charged also with several sex offences. The drug prosecution failed when the court excluded the evidence of the finding of the drugs because the search, in which they were found, was carried out, by the police, in breach of fundamental rights Mr Q enjoyed under the Constitution of Vanuatu. The sex charges were subsequently withdrawn.

Police v D (Wellington District Court, 2005)

Mr D faced two charges of criminal nuisance. He was HIV positive and did not disclose this to a sexual partner when having unprotected oral sex with her and when having protected sexual intercourse with her.

This case was the first in which a court in New Zealand, or in any comparable jurisdiction, had to decide whether a failure to disclose HIV positive status when a condom was used would amount to criminal nuisance. As a result the case attracted both national and international attention.

Both charges were dismissed. The court decided that there was no legal duty to disclose HIV positive status when having sexual intercourse whilst using a condom and no duty to disclose when having oral sex without a condom.

R v Name suppressed (Wellington District Court, 2006)

The two defendants were charged with fraud in relation to the operation of gaming machines. They were acquitted part way through their trial when the Crown case collapsed. Cross-examination of Crown witnesses revealed that the prosecution was based on a flawed investigation. The prosecution theory could not withstand critical analysis.

G v The District Court at Blenheim and the Attorney-General (Blenheim High Court, 2006)

Mr G was charged with importing ecstasy into New Zealand. He applied to the District Court at Blenheim for a stay of the prosecution on the basis that a delay of 22 months from his arrest to the proposed trial date breached his right under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act to be tried without undue delay. The District Court declined to stay the prosecution. Mr G sought in the High Court a review of the District Court decision. He succeeded. The High Court held that the District Court was wrong to have refused the stay. The High Court stayed the prosecution.

R v G (Wellington District Court, 2006)

Mr G was charged with raping a work colleague, after both of them had been drinking alcohol. He was acquitted.

R v Name suppressed (Wellington District Court, 2007)

The defendant faced an historical allegation of indecent assault. Eight years after the alleged offence a complaint was for the first time made to the police. The police investigated it and interviewed the defendant. They decided to take no further action, but did not tell the defendant of this decision. Sixteen years later they reviewed the position, after the complainant had inquired about progress in investigating her complaint. The defendant was then charged – 23 years after the alleged incident. The prosecution was stayed by the court, on a defence application, as an abuse of process.

R v S (Nelson District Court, 2008)

Mr S had been convicted of cultivating cannabis on his farm. The Crown applied for the forfeiture of the farm. The forfeiture application was unsuccessful, although S was ordered to pay a pecuniary penalty.

Department of Labour v K (Wellington District Court, 2009)

Mr K was charged under occupational safety legislation after a young man who was said to be working for him as a contractor fell from a roof and died. Each of the charges was dismissed.

R v Y (Wellington High Court, 2010)

Mr Y was alleged to have, whilst intoxicated, kicked an elderly man from his bicycle, causing his death. He faced a charge of manslaughter. The issues were whether Mr Y had in fact kicked the man from the bike and whether a brain hemorrhage – which was the cause of death – was the result of trauma or natural causes. Mr Y was acquitted.

R v G (Wellington High Court, 2010)

Mr G and another man were charged with murder after a transvestite was kicked and punched to death. Each man blamed the other. Each was acquitted of murder, but convicted – by a majority verdict – of manslaughter.

R v Name suppressed (Wellington District Court, 2011)

The defendant was charged with 10 counts of raping or in other ways sexually violating his wife. He was acquitted on all counts.

R v K (Wellington High Court, 2013)

Ms K was charged with murdering her partner. She was acquitted of both murder and manslaughter having successfully advanced a defense of battered woman syndrome.