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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 2. 8th March 1972

Edwards Strikes Out at Justice

page 3

Edwards Strikes Out at Justice

Dr Brian Edwards tried to project an image of willingness to aid underdogs and the underprivileged during his recent visit to the University Union. Hit speech, entitled "The Quest for Justice" suggested that the need for law reform was as urgent as ever.

Justice must no longer remain the perogative of the rich. With free criminal prosecution for one and all, vastly better State resources, high lawyer's feet, and a bum legal aid scheme to boot it seems that the "scales appear to be loaded from the outset in favour of the accusers rather than the accused."

Dr Edwards' called for the placing of the protection of the legal rights of the citizen on the list of social services, which the State should provide as it does with health and education.

As a solution to the present situation he suggested the Introduction of "Duty Solicitors", similer to those in Scotland and Ontario, Such a solicitor would advise the accused, on bail, and prospects of legal aid, but be paid for by the State. The present New Zealand scheme has little hope of success when a Crown Prosecutor can receive $578 while the Defence Council receives only $132.20

Dr. Edwards finished by saying that it was essential that the government should recognise the need for providing a legal aid scheme as a social service end thereby do away with the "invidious distinction between the rich and poor."

Not surprisingly many questions centered around the forthcoming election and whet Dr Edwards would do if successful. When asked what he would do if he gets in, the reply was "..speak, just speak, what else can I do?"

On judges and the legal profession, he answered that they were the most reactionary group in society, and their pomposity end moral lectures were really terrible.

On the question at a second T.V. channel Dr Edwards said that the present one channel showed a selection of programmes almost unequalled anywhere else, and if there was to be a second channel it most certainly Should not be in private hands.

The encyclopaedia ad. Dr Edwards acknowledges as a mistake that he now regrets, as it wet in contradiction to the political philosophy that he now holds. But he needed the money for his book.

Photo of a man batting in a cricket game

He said he was in harmony with the general philosophy of the Labour party but if it ever came to a clash of over-riding principle he would withdraw.

He did not think that the legalisation of marijuana was a vitally important issue, and would rather see people housed first, so that they had somewhere to smoke the stuff.

The final question was, "Do you personally think-that you will beat Bill Young and get. elected?" to which he replied, "Couldn't you ask something harder?"