SMAD. An Organ of Student Opinion. 1934. Volume 5. Number 6.
A feature at the crowded Court to-day was the appearance of the University of New Zealand on a charge of keeping a common gaming-house. On 17th. November last, the police raided the Winter Show Buildings and seized a considerable quantity of gaming material. The prominence of exam- papers showed that the business was conducted on a large scale. The Court commented on the complainant's acrimonious amplifications of the official oath in the course of the preliminaries—the information having been laid by one "Strewth," a common newsmonger. The defence was conducted by the Law Faculty in toto and academic gowns (totem).
Many of the examinees had willingly offered themselves at once as police witnesses, and much time was taken over their evidence. One in particular complained that he had been "plucked three times," and that the defendant was feathering its nest with the annual proceeds.
Counsel for the defence, after making a spirited appeal for freedom of speech, stated that this was no game, but quite a business, and that success depended entirely upon the skill of the applicant. His Worship: "I have not found that to be the case in the course of my own dealings with the defendant body. Besides, these gaming matters are always said to be a question of sufficient practice. I've heard that before." (Laughter). Various supervisors and examiners were exhibited by the defence, and the working of the system was explained, during which proceedings the Court was cleared and the evidence recorded in camera. It is understood, however, that a law clerk who had remained hidden behind a 1932 N.Z. Law Report fainted with horror at the disclosures, was discovered, and will be charged with ultra vires and breach of privilege.
The Magistrate then tried the machine himself. After several attempts he expressed sympathy towards the witness whose remarks are quoted above. The police successfully objected to expert demonstration on the ground that a model set of answers once prepared by an examiner had accidentally been marked by a confrere with results that hardly justified the term "expert."
The Bench gave an oracle decision. "I am well aware," remarked His Worship, "of the serious effects probably entailed, but they are the institution's own fault." By its agents it was tending to promote gambling among the young, and the 'Varsity student in particular must be protected from this kind of thing. "At least since I was there," continued the Court, "the University has been regarded as a place of culture. Its province is to cultivate the student's cult until he is culled from the world of things as they are. He is then said to be educated, i.e. 'led out.' "The outlet for the led out is the Examination. We must inquire simply whether the Examination is lawful under the Gaming legislation. Is there an element of luck in it? The defence is simply that there is no chance at all. Now, in view of the facts, I am not at all satisfied that the system is "watertight." It seems to me that the formula 2C-k (where C is chance of failure, C is degree of element of chance, k is "constant") applies, i.e. the likelihood of failure varies in inverse proportion to the concomitant good luck.
The University has stoutly denied that it is impossible to pass. But then failure (C) cannot reach 100 per cent. The logical and only result is that there must be some proportion of luck (C) in the game, and, given that, I have no hesitation in convicting without the option."