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The search for justice ... what you can do

January 2003

At this point in time, it is not entirely clear what path the search for justice for Steven Wallace and his family will follow. So far as the official procedures go, the Coroner's Inquest will be held in the next few months, most likely in April.

In the meantime, one way in which you can support the Wallace whanau is by giving a contribution to help with the costs of the court case.

While it was revealed by TV One News on 15 June 2002 that Cabinet had decided to pay around $130,000 to the Police Association for the cost of Constable Abbott’s defence to date; the Wallace family did not receive any legal aid for the court case.

In response to concern about this discrepancy, Helen Clark was reported as explaining this with: "This is a private prosecution and there is no legal aid for private prosecutions." "If there was, you would lift the lid off and you would never get the lid back on. It would be fair game for anyone to lodge a private prosecution." (‘Clark hears of Taranaki issues’, Lyn Humphreys, INL News, 20 June 2002).

As we commented at the time "Given that this is the first private prosecution brought against a serving police officer, it is hardly a question of lifting the lid off. There is a disturbing implication in these comments that a private prosecution is something which is determined by the ability to pay for it - surely a private prosecution should proceed on the merits of the case, rather than whether or not a complainant has the financial resources to fund it. One law for the rich and another for the poor?" (A step towards justice? The Chief Justice's judgment on the shooting of Steven Wallace, Peace Movement Aotearoa, 25 June 2002).

If you wish to make a contribution to the Steven Wallace Trust Fund for Justice, which was established to help with legal costs and expenses incurred by Steven's family, and to campaign for possible changes to the law and to police procedures, please refer to the updated details on this page.

"This is not just a Waitara tragedy, it was a national tragedy and one we must never allow to occur again" (from the Wallace Whanau Committee statement, June 2000)

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