Rangi Tekopa Tikitiki
From the Evening Post 4th May 1998
Legal aid decisions made by the Court of Appeal's registrar were not reviewable by the courts, a majority of the Court of Appeal said today. But responsibility for processing legal aid decisions should be removed from the court, today's decision said. Convicted murderer Jeffrey George Nicholls and Rangi Tekopa Tikitiki, who was sentenced to eight years in prison for rape, were each denied legal aid for their appeals.
They asked the Court of Appeal to quash the decisions of the registrar or deputy registrar and declare that the system of legal aid used by the Court of Appeal was unlawful. Chief Justice Sir Thomas Eichelbaum said a judicial review was available in theory for significant errors but the registrar's decision was arrived at after consultation with a Court of Appeal judge, he said. He said he did not believe that the law would allow the registrar's decision to be reviewed by a judge in a lower level court than the Court of Appeal.
However, he criticised the law under which the scheme is run as "unusual"."Some might use more unflattering epithets," he said. Under the scheme, the registrar consults with up to three judges. If one of the judges is in favour of legal aid being given it is automatically recommended. Sir Thomas said it was not realistic to expect a registrar to exercise completely independent judgment after having consulted a Court of Appeal judge, Sir Thomas said.
Date of Birth
"late twenties" at time of conviction
Sexual violation by rape of his paraplegic former partner in late 2005
Substantial list of previous convictions
Currently at large
Sentenced to eight years in May 1996
Appealed without success in August 1998
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OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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