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LEGAL   17 October 2015, 3:54PM
Incapacitated Justice Rhys Harrison
CREDIT: kiwis first (Added by New Zealand Justice Forum) - 2519 views ID: 27313

Incapacitated Justice Rhys Harrison

To the Office of the Judicial Conduct Commissioner 

This is a formal complaint against Court of Appeal Justice Rhys Harrison.

The “Judgment of Harrison J” dated 4 September 2015 (CA193/2003 [2015] NZCA 416) demonstrates a profound disconnect between the judge’s cognitive thinking and reality.

I submit to you that the Judge’s disconnect with reality is so profound that the only reasonable conclusion is he was incapacitated.The law recognises judicial incapacitation warrants removal from office in some cases.

The Judgment of Harrison stated:
“I am not satisfied that a Judge of this Court has jurisdiction to review the Registrar’s decision to reject the documents. However, on the assumption that jurisdiction exists, I am not satisfied that the Registrar erred.

The documents filed by the appellant in this Court do not constitute an application or appeal as defined by the Court of Appeal (Civil) Rules 2005.”

Under the Court of Appeal (Civil) Rules 2005, Rule 7, a Judge may exercise certain powers under rules –(2) A Judge may, on application, review any decision of the Registrar under these rules.”

Rhys Harrison J has been a permanent member of the Court of Appeal for many years and applications reviewing a decision of the Court of Appeal Registrar are commonplace.
Notwithstanding this, Harrison J publicly expressed doubt whether a Court of Appeal judge had
jurisdiction to review a decision of the Court Registrar.

A medical analogy equivalent would be a doctor who failed to understand which end of a scalpel to hold. When a medical doctor’s cognitive ability slips to such a level, it is up to the medical society to remove him/her.

In this case, it was not only Harrison’s failure to understand rudimentary and commonly used rules of Court. He failed altogether to understand the factual issue the application duly placed before the Court, evidenced by a ruling on an 8 October 2003 decision that was not challenged by the application.

In the first paragraph of this 4 paragraph judgment Harrison J recorded the application sought “to amend this Court’s decision delivered on 8 October 2003”. No such challenge was sought.

The application clearly stated on the face of it and at paragraph 6, that it sought to challenge a separate “Judgment” dated on 14 October 2003.

The Court had the jurisdiction under Section 8 of the Court of Appeal Rules 2005, to consider an application to correct the omissions in the 14 October 2003 judgment. These omissions are plainly evident by simply comparing the judgment and order of 8 October 2003 with the “judgment” sealed by the Court on 14 October 2003.

Despite the application clearly referring to the jurisdiction conferred by the above rule, Harrison J found in his judgment that; “The documents filed in this Court do not constitute an application or appeal as defined by the Court of Appeal (Civil) Rules 2005.”

It is inconceivable that Harrison J could get substance of the issue so demonstrably wrong unless he was cognitively incapacitated. Together with this, the Judge’s admission not to understand a basic rule which governs the Court, confirms a level of judicial incapacitation which is impossible to ignore. 

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