The rate of convictions is the highest in at least 35 years prompting concerns from lawyers and a politician about the justice system’s soundness.
Statistics New Zealand figures reveal more than 83 per cent of adults prosecuted in court last year were convicted.
The rate has risen in 10 of the past 11 years and in the past two years has been the highest since 1980 – the earliest data available.
Former New Zealand Law Society president Jonathan Temm said despite appearing to indicate a healthy justice system the conviction rate was actually too high with people being convicted incorrectly.
‘It’s heading the wrong way.
Our level should be constantly around the 75 per cent mark and anything over 80 per cent is a reflection that people are pleading guilty to things that in the past they would not have been convicted of’ Mr Temm said.
Whangarei lawyer Wayne McKean said the judicial system ‘heavily incentivises’ defendants to plead guilty – affecting the conviction rate.