Television New Zealand Archive

New Zealand Police Commissioner considers Deaf access to justice

1992
Image for New Zealand Police Commissioner considers Deaf access to justice

This clip, titled ‘Police/Deaf’ screened on ‘Tonight’ on 31 July 1992, two weeks after the emotive documentary broadcast by Television New Zealand, “The Remand of Ivan Curry” was shown on TV1 during Sunday evening, 12 July 1992.

It dealt with the arrest of Ivan Curry in 1998, who was then 21 years old and profoundly Deaf. He was arrested in the New Zealand town of Waitotara for the murder of his 15 month old nephew. He was remanded without bail for the next two years. In the 1990 trial, the jury took only two hours to find Curry not guilty. It was an accidential death caused by someone else.

Note: The documentary, “The Remand of Ivan Curry” will be shown on SignDNA once subtitles are added. 

The ‘Police/Deaf’ footage opens with a shot of Police Commissioner John Jamieson at Kelston Deaf Education Centre, walking to a meeting with the New Zealand Deaf Association to work out better procedures for dealing with Deaf people in custody.

Jennifer Brain, then President of the New Zealand Deaf Association stated that the New Zealand Police should know and follow the law of the Bill of Rights where everyone has the right to be informed, and Deaf people should be informed through an interpreter.

Note: The Commissioner of Police complained to TVNZ that ‘The Remand of Ivan Curry’ programme was unbalanced, that it lacked objectivity and that it had not dealt with the Police spokesperson justly and fairly. Moreover, it used deceptive programming practices and, the Commissioner said, he “despised” the programme’s efforts to undermine police integrity.

Denying that the programme was unbalanced, that it lacked objectivity, that it had dealt with the Police spokesperson unfairly, or that it would deceive anyone, TVNZ declined to uphold the complaint. Dissatisfied with TVNZ’s response, the Commissioner referred the complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority under s.8(a) of the Broadcasting Act 4S89.

After viewing the programme and reading the extensive material, the Authority declined to uphold the New Zealand Police’s complaint that ‘The Remand of Ivan Curry’ breached the standards of the Television Code of Broadcasting Practice. The Authority also unanimously declined to uphold the other aspects of the complaint by the New Zealand Police.

Further details: https://bsa.govt.nz/images/assets/PDF-Decisions/1992/104-9223121992New-Zealand-Police.pdf

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