July 19, 2013
Court nixes tikanga murder trial
The Court of Appeal has rejected a bid by a convicted murderer to be sentenced under customary law.
Tamati Benson Mason was appealing against convictions for murder and attempted murder, in relation to the stabbing of his former finance, Kate Brown, who survived, and her mother Sandra Brown, who died in the attack in February 2011.
His lawyer Annette Sykes argued that although Mason pleaded guilty to both counts, he had a right to trial under tikanga Māori rather than criminal law.
But the Court ruled that New Zealand criminal law clearly extinguishes any pre-existing customs.
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