Sir Thomas Murray Thorp KNZM (1 December 1925 – 17 October 2018) was a New Zealand lawyer and jurist who served as a judge of the High Court of New Zealand.
The High Court of New Zealand is the superior court of New Zealand. It has general jurisdiction and responsibility, under the Senior Courts Act 2016, as well as the High Court Rules 2016, for the administration of justice throughout New Zealand. There are 18 High Court locations throughout New Zealand, plus one stand-alone registry.
From 1963 to 1979, Thorp was the Crown Solicitor in Gisborne.[ citation needed ] He sat as a judge in the High Court of New Zealand from 1979 until 1996.[ citation needed ] In the 1997 New Year Honours, Thorp was appointed a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, in recognition of his service as a judge of the High Court.
Gisborne is a city in northeastern New Zealand and the largest settlement in the Gisborne District. It has a population of 37,200. The district council has its headquarters in Whataupoko, in the central city.
The New Year Honours 1997 were appointments by most of the Commonwealth realms of Queen Elizabeth II to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by citizens of those countries, and honorary ones to citizens of other countries. They were announced on 31 December 1996, to celebrate the year passed and mark the beginning of 1997 in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the Cook Islands, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Christopher and Nevis.
Thorp served as chairman of the National Parole Board and sat as a member of the Court of Appeal.[ citation needed ]
The Court of Appeal of New Zealand is principal intermediate appellate court of New Zealand. It is also the final appellate court for a number of matters. In practice, most appeals are resolved at this intermediate appellate level, rather than in the Supreme Court. The Court of Appeal has existed as a separate court since 1862 but, until 1957, it was composed of Judges of the High Court sitting periodically in panels. In 1957 the Court of Appeal was reconstituted as a permanent court separate from the High Court. It is located in Wellington.
After his retirement as a judge, Thorp wrote reports into some controversial matters.[ citation needed ]
In 1997, he reviewed New Zealand's gun control measures, and recommended that all firearms be registered.[ citation needed ] He also wrote a report into the David Bain case in which he said he was satisfied with the trial verdict.[ citation needed ]
In 1999, he wrote a report into the Peter Hugh McGregor Ellis case.[ citation needed ] Thorp expressed misgivings with aspects of the case. He could find no corroboration of the children's claims of sexual abuse. He said that section 23G of the Evidence Act should be repealed because it allowed an expert to say that there was no behaviour inconsistent with sexual abuse. His report recommended that the Justice Ministry obtain the opinion of Stephen J. Ceci with regard to the children's evidence.[ citation needed ] The Ministry has ignored this and other recommendations from Thorp's report.[ citation needed ] His report contrasts with that written by Sir Thomas Eichelbaum, which upheld Ellis's conviction.[ citation needed ]
Stephen J. Ceci is an American psychologist at Cornell University. He studies the accuracy of children's courtroom testimony, and he is an expert in the development of intelligence and memory. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Lifetime Contribution Awards from the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Association for Psychological Science (APS) as well as many divisional and smaller society awards.
Sir Johann Thomas Eichelbaum was a New Zealand jurist who served as the 11th Chief Justice of New Zealand.
In 2005, Thorp published a book entitled Miscarriages of Justice.[ citation needed ] He researched 53 applications for the Royal Prerogative of Mercy and found that at least 20 applicants may have been wrongly imprisoned.[ citation needed ]
Thorp lived in the Auckland suburb of Parnell. He died on 17 October 2018.
The Supreme Court of New Zealand is the highest court and the court of last resort of New Zealand, having formally come into existence on 1 January 2004. The court sat for the first time on 1 July 2004. It replaced the right of appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, based in London. It was created with the passing of the Supreme Court Act 2003, on 15 October 2003. At the time, the creation of the Supreme Court and the abolition of appeals to the Privy Council were controversial constitutional changes in New Zealand. The Act was repealed on 1 March 2017 and replaced by the Senior Courts Act 2016.
Dame Sian Seerpoohi Elias was the 12th Chief Justice of New Zealand, and was therefore the most senior member of the country's judiciary. She was the presiding judge of the Supreme Court of New Zealand and on several occasions acted as Administrator of the Government.
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In the English and British tradition, the royal prerogative of mercy is one of the historic royal prerogatives of the British monarch, by which he or she can grant pardons to convicted persons. The royal prerogative of mercy was originally used to permit the monarch to withdraw, or provide alternatives to death sentences; the alternative of penal transportation to "partes abroade" has been used since at least 1617. It is now used to change any sentence or penalty. A royal pardon does not itself overturn a conviction.
Sir Kenneth James Keith is a New Zealand Judge appointed to the International Court of Justice in November 2005.
Sir Thomas Munro Gault was a New Zealand jurist. He was a Justice of the Supreme Court of New Zealand and a member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom as well as a non-permanent judge of the Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong. He was also a justice of the Supreme Court of Fiji.
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Peter Hugh McGregor Ellis is a former Christchurch child care worker who was at the centre of one of New Zealand's most enduring judicial controversies. In June 1993 Ellis was found guilty in the High Court on 16 counts of sexual offences involving children in his care at the Christchurch Civic Creche and sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment. His conviction was strongly criticised, with concerns centering on how the children's testimony was obtained and presented to the jury.
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Sir Peter Blanchard is a former Judge of the Supreme Court of New Zealand.
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