Peter Ellis Org :
The NZ Justice System: The Family Court

www.peterellis.org.nz

Last updated April 2, 2004

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Hon Dr Nick Smith, M.P and the Family Court
(C) Found guilty of contempt - From March 24, 2004


This site condemns the prosecution of Nick Smith. His conviction is a serious injustice.
















March 30-31 - The Fight Gets Dirty - Accusations of Abuse


2004-0331 - Newstalk ZB - Peters rekindles Smith's Family Court case
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has claimed in Parliament that the boy at the centre of the case had been exposed to violence which was why he did not want to return to his parents. Dr Smith says the 22-page Family Court judgement makes no mention of any violence against the child. He is challenging Mr Peters to either table documents to back up his allegations or apologise to the distraught family. He also wants the Family Court to publish its judgement in the case

2004-0331 - Scoop - Peters' accusation appalls Nelson MP
National Party Press Release by Nick Smith - "I am appalled at Winston Peters' accusations against the parents of this child after all they have been through," says Dr Smith. "It is callous and grossly unfair. We had five days in the High Court and nine affidavits on this mother and no-one raised this accusation

2004-0331 - NZ Herald - Winston Peters claims Nelson boy abused
by Helen Tunnah - A boy at the centre of a bitter custody battle made public by MP Nick Smith was a victim of "extreme violence" and did not want to go back to his Nelson parents, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters claimed yesterday. His allegations rocked both the boy's parents and Dr Smith, who was last week found in contempt of court after he criticised the Family Court and accused the woman who now cares for the boy of "stealing" him.

2004-0331 - Dominion Post - Peters enters Family Court row
by Nick Venter - The boy at the centre of the custody battle which has clouded Nelson MP Nick Smith's career was subjected to violence and did not want to return to his parents, Parliament has been told. Dr Smith was convicted last week of contempt of court for publicising details of the case, but NZ First leader Winston Peters used parliamentary privilege yesterday to ask fresh questions about the matter.

2004-0330 - NZ Parliament - Questions
Rt Hon Winston Peters: How does the Minister think it helps public information and debate when, in the case of the judgment in respect of the Nick Smith, _______ Nelson case, the court decision does not disclose a very fundamental fact, and that is that the boy was subject to extreme violence, which is the reason he did not want to be returned to his parents? That is a fact.





March 28-30 - More reaction; By-election?


2004-0330 - Otago Daily Times - Why the court held Smith in contempt
by Mark Henaghan - What is the Nick Smith contempt of court case really all about? Mark Henaghan, the dean of law at the University of Otago, gives his views.
*  What is contempt of court?
*  What Smith did to influence the litigant
*  Public statements about civil litigation currently before a court
*  Did Smith act in the public interest?
*  Conclusion

2004-0330 - The Press - Prosecution of MP
Letter to the Editor by John Stringer - That Smith can be hounded for his obvious commitment to unjustly treated constituents, a far greater good, and NZ families everywhere, is bad enough. What is worse, will be the flagrant inconsistency of ignoring the PM for worse offences. Inconsistent application of the law is a scary, undermining of democracy.

2004-0330 - NZ Herald - Prime Minister backs National MP
NZPA - Helen Clark said today Dr Smith's future as an MP was "absolutely not" in jeopardy. "I do not think Parliament should take any steps to deal with Dr Smith. I think he made a mistake but one can learn from mistakes and move along. "I'm strongly of the view that people shouldn't try to hound Members of Parliament out of Parliament because they made a mistake along the way."

2004-0330 - Newstalk ZB - PM changes tack over Smith
Following the verdict last week, Helen Clark accused Dr Smith of grandstanding as his considered his political future.However Miss Clark now says Dr Smith should learn from his mistake and move on. She says she has a lot of sympathy for Members of Parliament who do their best and sometimes get it wrong.

2004-0330 - NZ Herald - Byelection still an option as Nick Smith holds off decision
NZPA -
A Nelson byelection remained a possibility yesterday after National MP Nick Smith deferred a decision on his future for another week. Dr Smith said he wanted to wait until he is sentenced on Friday for contempt of court before making a decision about his political options. He also wanted to ensure that his conviction did not leave him open to having his seat declared vacant.

2004-0329 - Newstalk ZB - Is Nick Smith safe?
Parliament's Speaker has been asked to rule whether Nelson MP Nick Smith is safe as an MP as a result of his conviction for contempt of court. Dr Smith has delivered a letter to the Speaker asking him to clarify the situation.

2004-0329 - Newstalk ZB - Smith puts off decision
Nelson MP Nick Smith will wait until Monday to decide about whether to seek a fresh mandate from his electorate

2004-0329 - One News - Smith seeks assurance
Nelson MP Nick Smith says he plans to write to the Speaker seeking an assurance that his seat is safe. Smith will be sentenced on Friday for contempt of court following his conviction for revealing details of a Family Court case.

2004-0329 - Scoop - Nick Smith defers decision and seeks clear ruling
NZ National Party Press Release by Nick Smith - Nelson MP Nick Smith has deferred his decision on how to respond to the contempt of court conviction brought down by the High Court in Wellington last Wednesday. "This decision is too important to rush

2004-0329 - Scoop - The Letter
Nick Smith has told his colleagues he won’t submit to a Duynhoven-type humiliating privileges committee hearing. He wants to clear his name. Two High Court judges have in effect accused him of lying under oath when they did not accept the MP’s version of a telephone conversation. After Nick Smith had been convicted but not sentenced, the Nelson MP gave a passionate defence of his actions and made a stinging attack on the Family Court- its secrecy, issuing ex parte orders that can deprive a parent of access to their child, and then taking years to decide custody

2004-0329 - Stuff - Nick Smith defers decision on political future
NZPA - National MP Nick Smith has deferred a decision on his political future until after he is sentenced for his contempt of court conviction on Friday. Dr Smith ws due to make a decision today on forcing a by-election in Nelson after the High Court said he had gone too far in publicising and interfering in a Family Court case. "This is too important a decision to rush," he said in a statement today.

2004-0329 - Dominion Post - PM stifles 'waffle' on Smith case complai
by Tracy Watkins -
Prime Minister Helen Clark has slapped down talk of a privileges complaint against Nick Smith that could harden National's resolve for a by-election in his Nelson seat. Privileges committee chairman Matt Robson opened a can of worms yesterday when he floated the prospect of a privileges complaint, a move that would play into National's hands by allowing it to force a by-election in Dr Smith's Nelson seat while rising above claims of grandstanding

2004-0329 - NZ Herald - Nick Smith defers decision on political future
NZPA - National MP Nick Smith has deferred a decision on his political future until after he is sentenced for his contempt of court conviction on Friday. Dr Smith was due to make a decision today on forcing a by-election in Nelson after the High Court said he had gone too far in publicising and interfering in a Family Court case.

2004-0329 - NZ Herald - Nick Smith likely to delay decision on byelection
by Audrey Young - National MP Nick Smith is likely to delay a decision about whether to force a byelection in Nelson after his conviction last week for contempt of court. He had been intending to announce today that he would resign and seek re-election. But party sources said last night that Dr Smith might slow the process because he did not want to appear to be rushing into a decision.

2004-0328 - Sunday Star Times - Robson wants Smith before committee
by Jonathan Milne - Parliament's powerful privileges committee want to determine MP Nick Smith's fate after he was convicted of contempt of court. ……Privileges committee chairman Matt Robson said yesterday he was writing to Speaker Jonathan Hunt, recommending the committee consider Smith's future.

2004-0328 - Sunday Star Times - Good intentions simply aren't enough
by Rosemary McLeod - When the National boys applauded their colleague Nick Smith last week, what were they thinking of? Sure, he was upset about being found guilty of contempt of court. Sure, his voice may have trembled, he may have been close to tears, he may believe utterly that he was right in what he did - but does that make him right? Does it even make it - as he put it - "a sad day for parliament"? Being sincere and well intentioned is never enough on its own.

2004-0328 - Sunday Star Times - Hunt turns blind eye to Nelson
by Jonathan Milne - Some in the government must want to give Speaker Jonathan Hunt a slap around the ears. By refusing to seriously consider whether National MP Nick Smith's contempt of court conviction should force him out of parliament, he has given National a golden opportunity to force a byelection.





March 27 - More reaction; By-election?


2004-0327 - Daily News - Smith centre of by-election circus

by Tracy Watkins - A by-election in Nelson is shaping up as a one-ring circus as the fringe parties rush to fill the vacuum left by the refusal of the major parties to stand a candidate against National. National MP Nick Smith is expected to announce next week whether he will force a by-election in his Nelson seat after his conviction for contempt of court.

2004-0327 - Dominion Post - Judges to consider penalty

National MP Nick Smith, TV3 and Radio New Zealand are due back in the High Court next Friday for two judges to consider what penalty to impose on them for contempt of court.

2004-0327 - Dominion Post - Outsiders scramble to contest by-election

by Tracy Watkins - The cost of a by-election has been put at $450,000 and Labour is labelling it a farce. But Dr Smith said it was a matter of principle. "The key issue for me is that the people of Nelson have a member of Parliament who has a mandate and no cloud or question hanging over my ability to serve them."

2004-0327 - Manawatu Standard - Voters ought to have a choice

Editorial - When High Court judges declare that they don't believe some of the key evidence given before them by an MP, it is surely incumbent on all of us to take the matter seriously indeed. But it seems few of Nelson MP Nick Smith's colleagues are much bothered and nor are most of his constituents. Which is a remarkable state of affairs

2004-0327 - Nelson Mail - Enough to get up anyone's nose

Editorial - Nelson MP Nick Smith is in bad odour with the High Court but smelling of roses to his supporters following his contempt of court conviction. He says he's pondering whether to resign, even though he doesn't appear to have to.

2004-0327 - Nelson Mail - Mail readers want Smith to stay

Nelson Mail readers have overwhelmingly backed embattled MP Nick Smith over the guilty verdict in his contempt of court case and urged him to remain in Parliament. Responses poured in to our question, "Having been found guilty of contempt of court, should Nick Smith resign?"

2004-0327 - NZ Herald - Between ineptitude and inadequacy

Comment by Gordon McLauchlan - Most of National's senior members seem at least as inadequate. Nick Smith, for example, wants to be above the law, a sort of individual Privy Council

2004-0327 - NZ Herald - MP unflinching over brewing up storm

by Helen Tunnah - Just a day after being found guilty of contempt of court, it is a surprisingly relaxed Nick Smith who recalls last November putting down a new home brew, named after the boss who sent him home on stress leave after a fraught leadership coup.

2004-0327 - NZ Herald - Smith turns to party veterans for guidance

by Helen Tunnah - Nelson MP Nick Smith has sought the advice of past National Party Cabinet ministers including Sir William Birch as he decides whether to resign after being convicted of contempt of court.

2004-0327 - Southland Times - Bye bye byelection

Editorial - It was once said that when a National MP was shown the plank he would generally walk it, whereas a Labour MP would try to push a wheelbarrow up it. National MP Nick Smith may find a new use for a plank -- as a springboard

2004-0327 - Southland Times - English supportive of MP

by Amy Glass - Former National leader Clutha Southland MP Bill English has come out in support of National MP Nick Smith, who was found guilty on Wednesday of contempt of court. Mr English slammed the verdict, saying the decision to prosecute Dr Smith was "politically motivated" .

2004-0327 - Timaru Herald - By-election shaping as non-event
by Tracy Watkins - National, currently riding high in the polls, appears to be gunning for a by-election, after one was tipped by party strategist Murray McCully in his weekly newsletter. But Dr Smith is resisting pressure from either side and has been taking soundings from National Party veterans Wyatt Creech, Bill Birch and Doug Kidd.





March 26 - More reaction to Smith's conviction


2004-0326 - Timaru Herald - The Court has ruled
Nelson MP Nick Smith can't believe he can be convicted for saying a boy should be with his mum and dad. And he'd be right, if that's all he did. Except he didn't. Along the way he intimidated the caregiver who has custody of the child, he used inappropriate language, and he decided he was right and the Family Court was wrong

2004-0326 - Otago Daily Times - Open court
Editorial -
The contempt of court ruling against Nelson MP Nick Smith has brought to public attention the apparent limitations of when and how far an elected member of Parliament can act on behalf of a constituent. Many people will never have any cause to contact an MP, some perhaps during during an election campaign. But behind the scenes there are families who struggle with day-to-day issues, including the care and custody of their children, and occasionally they turn to their local MP for help.

2004-0326 - Daily News - Bizarre legal case in which the loser becomes the winner
He did not name the parties, which is the law's primary protective requirement, so the Family Court appears to be mostly protecting its own status against legal technicalities and the right of free speech.

2004-0326 - Daily News - Smith by-election move `grandstanding'
by Leah Haines -
Dr Smith is understood to be devastated by the judgment. He rejected allegations that the by-election was a stunt saying he would decide on "principled grounds given the serious nature of the conviction, if I may need to re-establish my mandate to represent the people of Nelson". He said he had already been goaded by Labour MPs -- one pointed the finger at him and said "gotcha" and made a gesture like they were waving goodbye.

2004-0326 - Dominion Post - MP's future in the hands of strategists
Nelson's National MP Nick Smith is unquestionably hard-working and well-meaning. He cares so much about his constituents that he was prepared to personally bankroll a local couple desperate to regain care of their small son. Their story is disturbing. Dr Smith has been so publicly angry about their situation and the Family Court, which he sees as having exacerbated it, that the solicitor-general forced him before the High Court last month to defend his emotionally charged criticism of Family Court proceedings and his personal involvement with them.

2004-0326 - Dominion Post - Smith failed to tell other side of story
In National MP Nick Smith's words he was convicted of contempt this week for saying "a boy should be with his mum and dad". But the decision of two High Court judges shows that's far from the story. Dr Smith was convicted of contempt of court, not just for publishing details of a live Family Court case, but for undermining public confidence in the court and, most significantly, putting unfair pressure on a woman to stop asserting her legal rights

2004-0326 - Dominion Post - You'd run alone, rivals tell Smith - By-election a farce says Clark ;
by Leah Haines -
National Party MP Nick Smith may stand unopposed in a by-election for Nelson if he seeks re-election to clear his name as other parties reject the exercise as an expensive political stunt.

2004-0326 - Nelson Mail - Smith determined to continue in politics
National MP Nick Smith has come away from a meeting of his Nelson electorate determined to continue in politics.

2004-0326 - Nelson Mail - News - National Party
National Party MP Nick Smith may stand unopposed in a by-election for Nelson if he seeks re-election to clear his name as other parties reject the exercise as an expensive political stunt. But Dr Smith said he could consider a by-election anyway, in an effort to confirm the moral mandate from his constituents in the wake of the damning High Court judgment this week

2004-0326 - Nelson Mail - Byelection likely as Smith gets backing
By Karen Clark and NZPA -
An uncontested byelection in Nelson is looking increasingly likely as Nelson MP Nick Smith considers resigning and seeking re-election after being found guilty of contempt of court. Dr Smith has received strong backing from Nelson National Party members to initiate a byelection and test public opinion on the issues raised in the High Court case.

2004-0326 - Newstalk ZB - First opponent ready for Nick Smith
Nick Smith already has his first opponent if he resigns from Parliament and forces a byelection in Nelson…..University Students Association co-president Andrew Kirton says he will stand as an independent

2004-0326 - Newstalk ZB - Smith goes to constituents
There appears to be no need for one but Nick Smith appears to like the idea of a by-election. Nick Smith wants his constituents to decide if he has been guilty of any wrongdoing.

2004-0326 - NZ Herald - Court must be opened to scrutiny
Editorial -
The harsh tone of the High Court ruling, and the equally strong response, speak volumes of the emotionally charged nature of the Family Court. If there is solace for Dr Smith, it is that he is undoubtedly right in one respect: opening the court to public scrutiny can be delayed no longer.

2004-0326 - NZ Herald - Defence and indefensibility: An MP courting trouble
by Jim Hopkins - A "play" with reference to news events including an interview with Judge Behrens; Nick Smiths conviction and allegations against Judge Christiansen:
 
Dr Nicksmith (Defiant): Not guilty, your Onion.  Justice Lostiss-Behrens: Bother. Oh, very well. call your first witness, Mr Whoppingfee.

2004-0326 - The Press - Nick Smith's fate
Editorial -
It is important in considering the conviction of MP Nick Smith this week for contempt of court to understand what Smith was guilty of. He was not convicted simply of revealing facts about a Family Court case (which is against the law), nor was he convicted just because he tried to help a constituent. It was the improper way he went about those things and the intemperate, extreme language that he used in his public discussion of the case that got him into legal trouble

2004-0326 - The Press - PM in campaign mode on Christchurch visit
by Harriet Jones -
Not even the suggestion of a Nelson by-election following the contempt of court conviction of MP Nick Smith, could dampen Clark's spirits. She was adamant. "Mr Smith is not required to do anything. I don't have an opinion on it," she said. But when pushed she said: "I think if he were to resign and force a by- election, it would be a complete waste of public money."

2004-0326 - The Press - Smith likely to seek re-election - Rivals spurn poll as grandstanding
by Leah Haines and Helen Murdoch -
National MP Nick Smith may stand unopposed in a by-election for Nelson if he seeks re-election to clear his name as other parties reject the exercise as an expensive political stunt. Smith's seat looks safe after Speaker Jonathan Hunt told Parliament yesterday he was satisfied, for the meantime, that his contempt of court conviction did not disqualify him as an MP.

2004-0326 - Waikato Times - Convicted MP will end up winning
Editorial -
National MP Nick Smith lost his High Court case on Wednesday and now has a conviction for contempt of court. But in doing so, the man who was unceremoniously dumped by Don Brash as National's deputy leader last year seems to have come out the winner.






March 25 - Reaction to Smith's conviction


2004-0325 - NZ Parliament - Contempt Finding - Hon Dr Nick Smith

Speaker’s Rulings - I therefore intend to adhere to the provisional view expressed by the Clerk of the House to the Business Committee on 24 August 2003 - a copy of which was handed out at that meeting, and all parties were there - that if Dr Smith were to be found in contempt of court no disqualification would follow

2004-0325 - Newstalk ZB - Nelson faithful vow to back their MP
National Party faithful gather for an emergency meeting in Nelson, vote to back their MP Nick Smith over contempt conviction. Nick Smith's political future has been the subject of an emergency meeting in Nelson tonight. National Party faithful met and voted to back Dr Smith to the hilt, in the wake of his contempt of court conviction. Nelson National Party chairman Dan Dolejs says Dr Smith has been overwhelmed and humbled by the unconditional support shown by his constituents

2004-0325 - Otago Daily Times - MP under cloud of contempt verdict
NZPA -
National MP Nick Smith is considering his options after he was yesterday found guilty of contempt of court - a verdict which could see him thrown out of Parliament

2004-0325 - Nelson Mail - Smith judgment no surprise but...
Editorial -
The High Court decision finding Nelson MP Nick Smith guilty of contempt of court, released on Wednesday, is no surprise. While Dr Smith has many ardent supporters who believed that such a decision would be a travesty of justice, from the moment that the MP went public with his claims that a Nelson family had been unfairly treated in a Family Court custody battle, it was clear that he had taken a huge risk.

2004-0325 - Nelson Mail - Career in brief
by Karen Clark - *
Joins National Party in 1981 at the age of 13.  *Serves as a Rangiora district councillor from 1986 until 1989…..

2004-0325 - Nelson Mail - MP 'gobsmacked'
by Karen Clark -
A "gobsmacked" Nelson MP Nick Smith was weighing up his options on Thursday after being found guilty of contempt of court charges. Dr Smith said he was "bitterly disappointed" by yesterday's High Court verdict

2004-0325 - NZ Herald - Woman devastated that Nick Smith may lose job
A woman at the centre of a custody battle that led to National MP Nick Smith's contempt of court conviction said today she would be devastated if he lost his job as a result. Dr Smith said after his conviction yesterday he hopes to decide by Monday whether to appeal the verdict, which could see him thrown out of Parliament. "I'm so gutted for Nick," said the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons. "My husband and I, we were in tears last night. I still can't stop crying now," she told National Radio.

2004-0325 - Southland Times - Nick Smith attacks contempt decision
by Leah Haines -
"This is a sad day for Parliament and for the role that members of this house have in advocating for their constituents," he told Parliament yesterday. "I have no regrets about the actions I took in support of this Nelson family last year. This decision pales into insignificance compared to the loss of their son." Dr Smith's job is hanging in the balance and a by-election is possible in his Nelson seat after he stepped into a custody battle between a couple and their cousin who they entrusted with the temporary care of their son.

2004-0325 - Timaru Herald - Smith's future in balance
Last night Dr Smith was unrepentant and continued to use privilege to criticise the court: "It is wrong that competent parents should have to fight for custody of their own children," he said.

2004-0325 - Newstalk ZB - Woman in Nick Smith case speaks in his defence
The mother at the centre of the Nick Smith family court row has today spoken out in defence of the MP. The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, fought to have her seven-year-old son returned to the family. She lives with her husband and three other children in Nelson. The boy was being looked after by a relative but the court decided he was better off to stay put. The mother says the High Court decision finding Dr Smith guilty of contempt of court for speaking out about the case is grossly unfair.

2004-0325 - Government - Role is to ensure the court's decisions are respected
"I note the decision of court in the case of National MP Nick Smith. "It's also been noted there will be a hearing on penalty and costs. "It's important that that process be enabled to run its course."

2004-0325 - Daily News - Smith hits back after court finds him guilty
by Leah Haines -
One option could be to appeal the decision. But Ms Chen said he faced a crucial difficulty in that two High Court judges had not accepted the evidence he swore on oath in the court. Ms Chen said her advice to Dr Smith would be to appeal as soon as possible, to stop his seat being declared vacant, but she added: "I think the real problem here for Dr Smith is that a full court of the High Court found that evidence he gave that was sworn on oath was not accepted. That will be the real difficulty should he appeal."

2004-0325 - Dominion Post - MP's job on line after verdict
by Leah Haines and NZPA -
Electoral law says that MPs convicted of crimes punishable by a prison sentence of more than two years must lose their seat. Legal opinion, however, is divided over whether contempt of court -- which is a common law offence -- is a crime, and whether the act applies because contempt does not carry a maximum penalty. Constitutional law expert Mai Chen said it could be argued that it was not a crime, but Auckland University constitutional law expert Bill Hodge and Victoria University's Caroline Morris argued it clearly was.

2004-0325 - Newstalk ZB - Smith decision praised by Family Law section
Family Law section praises court decision on Nick Smith but MP Muriel Newman says it's another reason to open up the Court. There is praise for the court judgement that convicted Nick Smith of contempt of court. It comes from the chairman of the Family Law section of the Law Society. David Burns says the High Court decision was a very good one, fair and well-reasoned. He says politicians do not have the right to criticise the Family Law Court just because they are lawmakers.

2004-0325 - The Press - Smith's supporters devastated
by Helen Murdoch Nelson -
Nick Smith's Nelson supporters are angry their MP has been found guilty of contempt of court. Peter Malone, chairman of the Parents Rights and Open Justice Trust, said he was initially apprehensive, worried and is now angry about the practice of the judiciary. The trust was formed to support Smith and had raised $85,000 for his defence. "We will continue to support him, but first we have to meet and decide what direction he is going."

2004-0325 - The Press - Defiant MP's job on line
by Leah Haines -
The first MP to be convicted of contempt of court, Nick Smith, stood close to tears and used the protection of Parliament to attack the judgment that could end his career. "This is a sad day for Parliament and for the role that members of this house have in advocating for their constituents," he told Parliament yesterday. "I have no regrets about the actions I took in support of this Nelson family last year. This decision pales into insignificance compared to the loss of their son."

2004-0325 - NZ Herald - Contest in Nelson might serve National's best interests
by John Armstrong -
Nick Smith's National Party colleagues may not try too hard to talk him out of resigning from Parliament should he feel he must seek a fresh mandate from his Nelson constituents after his contempt of court conviction. National would love to drag the Government through a by-election which Labour has no hope of winning

2004-0325 - NZ Herald - Smith convicted, unrepentant and eyeing a byelection
National MP Nick Smith considers future after conviction for contempt; law expert Burrows says conviction shows limits for MPs. Nick Smith is not sure if he wants to remain in Parliament after being convicted for contempt of court.

2004-0325 - Newstalk ZB - MP unsure about political future
National MP Nick Smith considers future after conviction for contempt; law expert Burrows says conviction shows limits for MPs. Nick Smith is not sure if he wants to remain in Parliament after being convicted for contempt of court.






March 24 - Smith is Convicted


2004-0324 - Newstalk ZB - Conflicting opinions on Smith's future
Nick Smith says he is getting conflicting legal opinions on whether he will lose his job, after being found in contempt of court. He has told Parliament the decision will have a far reaching effect, changing the way MPs deal with their constituents and the way the media deal with stories. And speaking to Newstalk ZB's Larry Williams programme, Nick Smith says he has had legal advice telling him that 'he's a goner', while others say that his job is safe. He says he wants to get more advice, and consult his family and the community of Nelson.

2004-0324 - Newstalk ZB - Smith unlikely to lose seat
National leader Don Brash says he is very disappointed with the outcome of the contempt case against Nick Smith. A bitterly disappointed Nick Smith says his conviction for contempt of court will muzzle MPs from speaking out on behalf of their constituents.

2004-0324 - NZ Herald - National MP Nick Smith found in contempt of court
Justices Wild and MacKenzie said ……..they were satisfied beyond doubt that Dr Smith intended to influence the Family Court's decision. "Unmistakably, he sought to bring about the return of custody of the child to the parents, his constituents. The judges said that they believed that Dr Smith tried to make the child's caregiver forego her rights through his conversation with her and through media pressure. They also said Dr Smith tried to lessen the validity of the decision in the eyes of the public. Dr Smith "usurped" the court's role by making his own inquiries into the case, and publicising details in media releases, the judges said. "He left the court and the public in no doubt that the child should be in the parents' custody," they said in their findings. "Comments such as Dr Smith made are apt to undermine public confidence in the court's decision, whichever way the judge decides."

2004-0324 - Act Party - Nick Safe
Press release
by Richard Prebble - "MPs are sympathetic to Nick Smith's claim that he was acting on behalf of constituents. Members of Parliament are also becoming very concerned over the secrecy of the Family Court. Every constituency MP would have been approached by constituents telling extraordinary stories of how they were treated by the Family Court.

2004-0324 - Act Party - Smith Conviction Justice Gone Wrong
Press release
by Dr Muriel Newman - ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today labelled National MP Dr Nick Smith's contempt of court conviction as nothing more than a completely avoidable misuse of justice. "It is completely outrageous that an MP has been convicted for airing his concerns over the secret Family Court, after being approached by the very people he was elected to represent," Dr Newman said.

2004-0324 - National Party - Don Brash on Nick Smith contempt case
Press
release by Don Brash MP National Party Leader - National Party Leader Don Brash says he's very disappointed with the outcome of a High Court case brought against Nelson MP Nick Smith for contempt of court

2004-0324 - National Party - Smith bitterly disappointed by contempt ruling
Press
release by Hon Dr Nick Smith MP - National MP Nick Smith is bitterly disappointed at the High Court decision that he was in contempt of court for highlighting the plight of a Nelson family denied custody of their own child. "It is extraordinary that in a free and democratic country I have been convicted for saying a boy should be with his mum and dad. "I have no regrets about the actions I took in support of this Nelson family last year. This conviction pales into insignificance compared to the loss of their son

2004-0324 - One News - Smith ponders his next move
National MP Nick Smith says he will consider appealing against a High Court decision which found him in contempt of court. Smith says he is also considering his future as an MP.

2004-0324 - NZ Herald - MP Nick Smith convicted of contempt of court
NZPA - National MP Nick Smith has been found guilty of contempt of court. In a reserved decision released this afternoon, Justices Wild and MacKenzie found Dr Smith, TV3 and Radio New Zealand to be in contempt of court after a five-day trial last month.

2004-0324 - Newstalk ZB - Guilty decision on Nick Smith
Court decides Nick Smith tried to interfere in the administration of justice in order to assist his constituents. National's Nick Smith has been found guilty of contempt of court……. in a reserved decision, the High Court says it was not convinced Dr Smith was acting in the public interest. The judges found Dr Smith's primary purpose was to interfere in the administration of justice in order to assist his constituents.