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Courts boss faced military prosecution

#1 User is offline   BLURB 

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 06:22 AM

Courts boss faced military prosecution
ANDREA VANCE
Last updated 05:00 09/08/2014

A former SAS commander, now in charge of some of the country's courts, backdated a search and seizure order after drugs and weapons were found at a military camp.

Lieutenant Colonel Karl Cummins, 44, was cleared last week of four counts of negligence and of making false documents at a military summary trial. He admitted signing two minutes, which authorised the search and seizure operation two days after it took place.

In a legal first, Fairfax Media yesterday overturned a suppression order granted by a military disciplinary officer banning the publication of Cummins' name.

Fairfax lawyers argued that his new job as Ministry of Justice deputy secretary - overseeing the running of courts and tribunals - meant the public had an interest in scrutinising his conduct.

He was not stood down from the job, which he took up in March. On leave from the Defence Force, he was approached by Justice Secretary Andrew Bridgman about the two-year appointment last year.

The trial heard Cummins verbally authorised the search at the SAS base in Papakura in April last year. It was carried out within a week, but the military police paperwork did not reach him until two days later.

The minutes authorising the search and seizure were mistakenly dated with the month of April for the search, with a blank space for the date, the tribunal heard. Cummins admitted signing the minutes two days after the operation had been carried out, because he says he was told this was standard practice.

His counsel, Lieutenant Colonel Steve Watt, said he was a scapegoat, and was given bad advice. The tribunal heard the Defence Force is reviewing the practice.

Prosecuting officer Lieutenant Colonel Phil Halligan argued Cummins was responsible for the content of the documents he signed.

Brigadier Charles Lott cleared Cummins of four charges, two of making a false official document and two alternative charges of negligently performing a duty.

However, he said there was a breach of "mechanical and technical process".

"I accept and assess that your actions were not false," he said. "They weren't negligent and, in the accepted sense of the word, they were not fraudulent . . . in saying this, I do, however, need to make clear that people like ourselves in positions of trust and responsibility must at all times carefully consider the consequences of their actions with regard to the transparency and audit ability of documentation supporting actions against an individual."

Cummins' backdating of the minutes has already been the subject of criticism by the Court Martial Appeal Court after the trooper who was the subject of the search and seizure order successfully appealed against his court martial. That part of the appeal court's judgment was itself suppressed until the charges against Cummins had been disposed of.

The appeal court said the documentation authorising the search and seizure was very poor and amounted to "unacceptable practice".

"On their face, the documents purport to record a written authority to search made in advance of the search taking place. In fact they were prepared ex-post facto in order to provide documentary authority for items that had already been seized.

"We were informed that steps have been taken to ensure that this does not happen again. It is important that it does not."

The appeal court accepted the backdating of the minutes did not mislead anyone.

After receiving notice of Fairfax's intention to challenge name suppression, the disciplinary officer hearing the charges made a further suppression order before hearing Fairfax's submissions.

In a hearing yesterday, lawyer Robert Stewart, for Fairfax, argued an acquittal did not automatically mean suppression should be granted. Cummins' new job - in a "crucial arm of government" - meant the public should be entitled to debate and comment on his conduct.

Watt argued permanent name suppression should be granted because the process was an internal disciplinary matter and publication would cause "disproportionate harm" to his reputation.

Lott did not accept the statutory criteria for a permanent suppression order had been satisfied, and agreed to revoke the suppression.

Bridgman was informed of the charges against Cummins in May.

"This was an employment matter with the New Zealand Defence Force. The ministry has an obligation as a good employer not to prejudge the outcome of a disciplinary matter involving the NZDF," a spokesman said.

A NZDF spokesman said: "This matter has demonstrated that the NZDF military justice system is effective and fit for purpose, and that it is conducted fairly and as transparently as possible, given the special considerations of the military environment."

- The Dominion Post

http://www.stuff.co....ary-prosecution
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#2 User is offline   MINI 

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 10:41 AM

View PostBLURB, on 09 August 2014 - 06:22 AM, said:

Courts boss faced military prosecution
ANDREA VANCE
Last updated 05:00 09/08/2014

A former SAS commander, now in charge of some of the country's courts, backdated a search and seizure order after drugs and weapons were found at a military camp.

Lieutenant Colonel Karl Cummins, 44, was cleared last week of four counts of negligence and of making false documents at a military summary trial. He admitted signing two minutes, which authorised the search and seizure operation two days after it took place.

In a legal first, Fairfax Media yesterday overturned a suppression order granted by a military disciplinary officer banning the publication of Cummins' name.

Fairfax lawyers argued that his new job as Ministry of Justice deputy secretary - overseeing the running of courts and tribunals - meant the public had an interest in scrutinising his conduct.

He was not stood down from the job, which he took up in March. On leave from the Defence Force, he was approached by Justice Secretary Andrew Bridgman about the two-year appointment last year.

The trial heard Cummins verbally authorised the search at the SAS base in Papakura in April last year. It was carried out within a week, but the military police paperwork did not reach him until two days later.

The minutes authorising the search and seizure were mistakenly dated with the month of April for the search, with a blank space for the date, the tribunal heard. Cummins admitted signing the minutes two days after the operation had been carried out, because he says he was told this was standard practice.

His counsel, Lieutenant Colonel Steve Watt, said he was a scapegoat, and was given bad advice. The tribunal heard the Defence Force is reviewing the practice.

Prosecuting officer Lieutenant Colonel Phil Halligan argued Cummins was responsible for the content of the documents he signed.

Brigadier Charles Lott cleared Cummins of four charges, two of making a false official document and two alternative charges of negligently performing a duty.

However, he said there was a breach of "mechanical and technical process".

"I accept and assess that your actions were not false," he said. "They weren't negligent and, in the accepted sense of the word, they were not fraudulent . . . in saying this, I do, however, need to make clear that people like ourselves in positions of trust and responsibility must at all times carefully consider the consequences of their actions with regard to the transparency and audit ability of documentation supporting actions against an individual."

Cummins' backdating of the minutes has already been the subject of criticism by the Court Martial Appeal Court after the trooper who was the subject of the search and seizure order successfully appealed against his court martial. That part of the appeal court's judgment was itself suppressed until the charges against Cummins had been disposed of.

The appeal court said the documentation authorising the search and seizure was very poor and amounted to "unacceptable practice".

"On their face, the documents purport to record a written authority to search made in advance of the search taking place. In fact they were prepared ex-post facto in order to provide documentary authority for items that had already been seized.

"We were informed that steps have been taken to ensure that this does not happen again. It is important that it does not."

The appeal court accepted the backdating of the minutes did not mislead anyone.

After receiving notice of Fairfax's intention to challenge name suppression, the disciplinary officer hearing the charges made a further suppression order before hearing Fairfax's submissions.

In a hearing yesterday, lawyer Robert Stewart, for Fairfax, argued an acquittal did not automatically mean suppression should be granted. Cummins' new job - in a "crucial arm of government" - meant the public should be entitled to debate and comment on his conduct.

Watt argued permanent name suppression should be granted because the process was an internal disciplinary matter and publication would cause "disproportionate harm" to his reputation.

Lott did not accept the statutory criteria for a permanent suppression order had been satisfied, and agreed to revoke the suppression.

Bridgman was informed of the charges against Cummins in May.

"This was an employment matter with the New Zealand Defence Force. The ministry has an obligation as a good employer not to prejudge the outcome of a disciplinary matter involving the NZDF," a spokesman said.

A NZDF spokesman said: "This matter has demonstrated that the NZDF military justice system is effective and fit for purpose, and that it is conducted fairly and as transparently as possible, given the special considerations of the military environment."

- The Dominion Post

http://www.stuff.co....ary-prosecution


Hi all

This is much the same as Huggies was in front of the Police is it not??

A false documentment has been served to search and seize, that was found to be true wasnt it HUggie?

So there is actually case law that shows that it is not an acceptable way in which to carry out a search warrant. The Police and the Forces would be no different in that respect. And yes I was in the forces, so I do know a bit about them.

Usually, every i has to be dotted and every t crossed. I consider it is/was more regimentated than the police. This is not a oversight that would have no 'fine' go with it.

How can we trust our rights in Justice to be protected when he didnt see the error of signing a document that allowed a search & seize AFTER it had been done. WOnder what date he used??

If we did that and signed our homehelp on a date that wasnt the true date the cleaner was there, we could be had for fraud.

How is that for 'same/similar'?? One law for the rich, with high class job, and another for the ACC claimants.

Mini
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#3 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 05:39 PM

From 2013.

Good on Fairfax & there lawyers for ensuring this matter has been raised in the mainstream public arena.



Military man gets temporary command at courts
Dominion Post [Wellington, New Zealand] 19 Oct 2013: A.2.

The commander of the elite special forces, the SAS, is to head up the country's courts and tribunals.

Lieutenant Colonel Karl Cummins
will join the Justice Ministry as a deputy secretary in February. He takes over from George Hickton, who was on a short-term contract.

Colonel Cummins' posting is a two-year secondment.

Justice Secretary Andrew Bridgman
said he had got to know Colonel Cummins over the past 18 months. "What really appealed was ... the only way the military work well is if their frontline troops are well trained, well equipped and know what they have to do. And I think the challenge in an organisation like ours is to make sure that we have that same very linear focus."

Robert Pigou has also been confirmed in the role of deputy secretary, higher courts.
Word count: 135

Fairfax New Zealand Limited 2010, Dominion Post
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#4 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 05:44 PM

Is Karl Cummins related to Warren Cummins head of Corrections Department?

Radio New Zealand Newswire — 01 08 2007 : 12:46:45

Two Auckland Prison staff have been sacked after they took an immate to carry out work on a prison employee's home last year.

The Prison Service's northern region manager Warren Cummins says the prisoner had been allowed out on work release.

But on the way to that job he was diverted to the home of a Corrections staff member, to do some work.

Mr Cummins says there is no evidence that anyone else has breached the rules.
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#5 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 05:48 PM

Is Karl Cummins related to Robert James Cummins?

Or is the surname Cummins just a common name like Wang, Singh & Smith?


THE DOMINION, 12 SEP 1996 , Edition 2, Page 3.
Sentenced fraudster still works as lawyer

THOUGH given a suspended jail sentence for fraud yesterday, lawyer Robert James Cummins can continue to practise law as he has for the seven years since his crimes were discovered.

In 1990 he reached a settlement with the law firm whose trust account he defrauded and was encouraged to keep working so he could pay back the money.

Cummins was charged two years ago but till he was sentenced in the High Court at Wellington yesterday his name and occupation had been suppressed so his clients could not know he was under suspicion.

Wellington Law Society complaints committee chairman Colin Beyer
said yesterday Cummins's conviction would be considered at a committee meeting next Wednesday.

It was likely the meeting would decide to apply to the New Zealand Law Society disciplinary tribunal to have Cummins disbarred on the grounds that he had been convicted of a crime carrying a jail penalty.

He also expected the committee would apply to have Cummins's practising certificate suspended as a matter of urgency till the tribunal decided his case.

Sentencing Cummins to two years' jail and eight months' periodic detention, Justice Gallen said the extraordinary circumstances that led him to suspend the jail sentence were the length of time since Cummins's offences were discovered and that he had met the terms of settlement with his former employer.

Cummins had taken the brave step of telling his clients of the position he was in and 16 of them had written letters of support to the court.

The prosecution said that $192,000 was still owing, but that was disputed.

A complaint about what Cummins had done had been made to the Serious Fraud Office only after the settlement.

The judge suppressed the name of the law firm Cummins systematically defrauded between May 1986 and June 1989.

He also suppressed the name of the firm's principals, saying that no blame could be attached to them.

During Cummins's trial, evidence was given that he set up an account under a false name to siphon off money from a charitable trust the firm administered.

The money went into a private business, shares, and to meet personal expenses.

The judge said Cummins had clearly acted for personal gain, his motive was greed and he had betrayed the trust both the law firm and its clients were entitled to.

For the prosecution, Stephen Barrowclough said Cummins had indulged in deliberate, systematic dishonesty and a substantial jail sentence should be imposed to punish him and deter others.

Defence lawyer Richard Laurenson said Cummins regretted what he had done and was now a very different man from the one who had broken the law seven years ago.
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#6 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 05:54 PM

Is this the same Warren Cummins that now works at the Corrections Department?

It's starting to smell very fishy to us and that perhaps transparency has not taken place if he is related to Karl Cummins in our honest opinion.

Perhaps the media and there Lawyers need to do some more digging & find out how many people did indeed apply for the role that Karl Cummins now has at the Ministry of Justice & how many of them actually were interviewed.


STUFF — NORTH SHORE TIMES — LOCAL NEWS — 28 JAN 2003
New face at the helm

By NIKKI CARMICHAEL

The Royal New Zealand Navy Base in Devonport has a captain back in charge.


Captain Warren Cummins took over as base commander of HMNZS Philomel from Commander David Wright at an official ceremony on Thursday morning.

Captain Cummins
says he is not planning any big changes. Commander Wright has taken another senior position in the navy. He will be the director of naval excellence.

"I think his parting words were good luck," Captain Cummins says.

Captain Cummins supports the navy's multi-million dollar museum project and Commander Wright, who instigated the museum project, will continue to be involved with planning for the museum.

Captain Cummins'
new job means he will be responsible for the management of administration of the navy and will lead the 800 sailors on base.

He joined the navy at 15 and has more than 26 years of naval experience.

He was the commanding officer of Canterbury from 1998 to 2000 and he took Canterbury to East Timor in 1999.

When he joined the navy he never imagined 26 years later he'd be the base commander.

"I love the job just as much now as I did back then," he says.

His wife and two children are also very happy with his new appointment. Captain Cummins lives in Belmont and says his family enjoys being a part of the bigger navy family.
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