Man's race appeal on drink-driving charge fails

IAN STEWARD
Last updated 10:42 26/11/2013

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A Northland man has appealed his driving conviction arguing that laws of Parliament do not apply to Maori.

Neil Phillips was found guilty in a Kaikohe District Court trial of one count of careless use of a motor vehicle.

He was convicted and fined $350 plus court costs.

Phillips appealed to the High Court, unsuccessfully, and then tried to take his case to the Court of Appeal.

Phillips' arguments boiled down to the point that "the Land Transport Act and related legislation enacted by Parliament do not apply to people of Maori heritage", the court said.

"His argument is to the effect that he is subject only to Tikanga Maori or customary law and thus the District Court had no jurisdiction to determine the charge."

The court gave the suggestion short shrift saying the his application "does not raise an arguable question of law".

The court said such arguments had been considered and rejected by the Supreme Court and were "plainly unarguable".

"Parliament is sovereign and its legislation applies to all New Zealanders irrespective of race."

The appeal was dismissed.  

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