New Zealand Teachers Speaking Out with Science (NZTSOS) await the findings from their court appeal which was heard in the Court of Appeal on 19 April 2023.
In the report written by New Zealand Doctors Speaking Out with Science (NZDSOS) it states, “Although the appeal was undertaken by NZTSOS, it is of great interest and importance to us as it relates to the Right to Decline Medical Treatment”.
“This is one of the fundamental ethical principles of medical practice,” said a spokesperson for NZDSOS.
“The judges said their decision could take weeks or months. It is now 8 weeks since the hearing, so we are anticipating a judgment soon.”
The main thrust of the NZTSOS argument lay in the 4th ground of appeal – had the Crown demonstrated, as required by the NZ Bill of Rights, that mandating a novel genetic treatment was ‘a reasonable and demonstrably justified limitation’ on the right to decline medical treatment? Had the Crown demonstrated that a mandate was necessary for the wellbeing of New Zealanders and that there was no other way to manage Covid-19?
Matthew Hague from Frontline Law was the lawyer acting for NZTSOS and Daniel Jones represented the Crown. The appeal was heard by 3 judges: David Goddard, David Collins and Murray Gilbert. The report discusses some observations made from a non-legal perspective during the appeal hearing.
- The judges pressed Crown lawyer Daniel Jones about whether Justice Cooke had sufficiently considered evidence about more rights compliant ways of managing the pandemic. Justice Cooke had mentioned the importance of considering more rights compliant ways in paragraph 81 of his judgement but did not appear to take this further.
- There were questions about whether there was deference to the Crown. Daniel Jones denied this, instead suggesting that Justice Cooke “preferred the evidence of the respondents’ [Crown] witnesses”.
- Daniel Jones was very dismissive of the appellant’s (NZTSOS) expert Dr Geoffrey Cramp who was more highly qualified and more in touch with real New Zealanders on the ground than Dr Ashley Bloomfield. In addition to the same Public Health qualifications as Dr Bloomfield, Dr Cramp also had GP and Urgent Care training. He was working in a public health role in regional New Zealand at the time of the mandates.
- There was discussion about whether the additional benefits gained by mandating a vaccine had been adequately quantified and the very broad application of the mandate was noted.
- There were brief questions about whether Justice Cooke had access to all the information especially re vaccine approval, vaccine safety and prevention of transmission.
“This last point is particularly important with all the new information that has come to light via OIAs demonstrating who knew what and when” said the spokesperson.
“We are hopeful that the judges look at all the information and take this case very seriously, not just for the teachers, but for all New Zealanders, including themselves and their families.” If the appeal is lost and the ‘Right to Decline Medical Treatment’ can be so easily abolished, then every New Zealander should be asking “What’s next?”