ICCPR Case Digest

CCPR/C/125/D/2684/2015

Communication

2684/2015

Submission: 2015.06.02

View Adopted: 2019.03.29

T v. New Zealand

Claim of violation owing to treatment and sentencing of a disabled individual, inadmissible as domestic remedies not exhausted

Substantive Issues
  • Arbitrary arrest
  • Arbitrary detention
  • Fair trial
  • Torture / ill-treatment
Relevant Articles
  • Article 10.1
  • Article 14.1
  • Article 14.3 (a)
  • Article 14.3 (d)
  • Article 14.3 (f)
  • Article 14.3 (g)
  • Article 3 - OP1
  • Article 5.2 (b) - OP1
  • Article 7
  • Article 9.1
Full Text

Facts

The author is a citizen of New Zealand who has an intellectual disability, and claims the state party has violated his rights under articles 7 and/or 9 (1), 10 (1) and 14 (1) and (3) (a) (d) (f) and (g) of the Covenant.

The author was apprehended by police for disorderly behaviour at a train station in 2004. He was taken to a community police centre where he confessed to robbing a liquor store, signing his statement as true and correct. Later, a consultant psychologist met with the author in detention and conducted an assessment of his psychiatric state - concluding that he was fit to plead, however suffered from an intellectual disability to an unknown extent due to lack of further testing. The author later pled guilty to aggravated robbery charges, and was sentenced to three years six months in prison.

The author claims that sentencing him to prison constituted a violation of articles 7 and/or 10 of the Covenant, considering his intellectual disability and history of self harm. The author also alleges a violation of article 9(1) as he was detained for 14 days in 2004 for the purposes of psychiatric assessment, and later that his whole sentence was arbitrary on the basis that the Court had not properly assessed his intellectual disability and connected issues.

Admissibility

In considering whether domestic remedies have been exhausted, the Committee noted that the author missed a domestic right to appeal by two years and eight months after his conviction. In this case, the Committee considers that the author did not give a chance to all competent courts to hear his grievance. Further, the Committee found the author's argument that he missed this deadline due to his intellectual disability unconvincing, especially given the fact that he was accompanied with professional counsel.

On this basis, the Committee found that the communication was inadmissible.

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