Bland v R

JurisdictionNew Zealand
CourtSupreme Court
JudgeElias,McGrath,Arnold
Judgment Date07 October 2013
Neutral Citation[2013] NZSC 93
Docket NumberSC 56/2013
Date07 October 2013

[2013] NZSC 93

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF NEW ZEALAND

Elias CJ, McGrath and Arnold JJ

SC 56/2013

Between
Noel Lee Bland
Applicant
and
The Queen
Respondent
counsel

M M Wilkinson-Smith for Applicant

K A L Bicknell and A R van Echten for Respondent

Application for leave to appeal against sentence on the ground that since conviction the appellant had given assistance to prosecuting authorities leading to the conviction of a co-offender and was prepared to provide further assistance in the upcoming trial of another co-offender — appellant had denied offending at trial — post trial and pre hearing of an appeal by Court of Appeal, appellant admitted involvement and co-operated with authorities in trial of co-offender — at appeal hearing did not argue assistance ground — whether the assistance provided by appellant post trial entitled him to a discount

The issue was whether the assistance provided by B post trial entitled him to a discount,

Held: Although the general issue of sentence discounts for assistance to authorities was a matter of public or general importance, it was not the interests of justice to hear and determine this appeal. This case did not provide an appropriate context for consideration of this issue.

There was no appearance of a substantial miscarriage of justice in this case because:

  • (a) B did not raise assistance as a ground of appeal against sentence. The Supreme Court would not usually entertain criminal appeals on grounds that, although available, were not raised before the Court of Appeal.

  • (b) Any assistance rendered B was belated and was self-serving rather than motivated by a genuine desire to cooperate with authorities.

  • (c) Given the other evidence available to prosecuting authorities, B's evidence was not essential to the successful prosecution of either co-offender. As a consequence, any discount available would have been modest.

Application for leave to appeal dismissed.

JUDGMENT OF THE COURT

The application for leave to appeal is refused.

REASONS
1

Following a District Court jury trial, the applicant, Mr Bland, was convicted on one count of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. The Crown case was that he and two others set upon the victim outside a tavern, causing him serious injuries. Mr Bland was sentenced to imprisonment for six years. 1 He now seeks leave to appeal against sentence, on the ground that, since he was sentenced, he has rendered assistance to prosecuting authorities leading to the successful prosecution of one co-offender and is prepared to provide further assistance in the upcoming trial of the other co-offender.

2

Although Mr Bland did not give evidence at his trial, his stance was that he played no part in the offending. He made two statements to this effect to the police. 2

3

Mr Bland appealed against his conviction and sentence to the Court of Appeal. Before the appeal was heard, Mr Bland gave a further statement to the police, in which he admitted that he had participated in the initial stages of the assault (although he denied causing any serious injury to the victim) and implicated his co-offenders. 3 He also indicated that he was prepared to give evidence against them.

4

On his conviction appeal, Mr Bland argued that new evidence had come to light since trial which rendered his conviction unsafe. This new evidence included his further statement to police. The Court of Appeal did not accept that the new evidence should be admitted and dismissed the conviction appeal. 4 On his sentence appeal, Mr Bland raised a number of arguments, 5 but significantly for present...

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1 cases
  • LM v R
    • New Zealand
    • Supreme Court
    • 20 February 2014
    ...of appeal. 1 LM (CA217/2012 v R [2013] NZCA 145. 2Pavitt v R [2005] NZSC 24; Kanhai v R [2005] NZSC 25; Mankelow v R [2007] NZSC 57; and Bland v R [2013] NZSC 3Kanhai v R, above n 2, at [6]; and Pavitt v R, above n 2, at [4]. 4R v M [2008] NZCA 193 at [38] and [56]. him to change his plea. ......

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