Sue Grey Disciplinary Tribunal. The Verdict is In – What Can New Zealand Learn From It?
A follow-up to the article of July 27 that was called “The Tide is Turning and Sue Grey is Helping it to Turn”
by Mike Bee
When I wrote my account of the Sue Grey disciplinary tribunal of July 24, I finished it by saying, “I suppose it is possible that, despite all I have written, a judgment may be made against her.” The day-long event had shown pretty clearly that there was practically no evidence of harm being caused by her or any facts suggesting she had brought her profession into disrepute. I replied to a fellow-writer who asked me if I would do a follow-up that I would do one only if Sue was found guilty. Now the verdict has been delivered by the five judges, and Sue has been found not guilty – all charges against her struck out and no case to answer for. So why am I writing a follow-up after all?
I am writing this because much of what the judges wrote goes against the grain of the official narrative that has been drummed into the heads of the New Zealand public for the last two-and-a-half years. And I am writing it because it is vitally important for our society that these things are heard. Yes, the tide may indeed be turning here and in the world at large, and Sue Grey may have helped it to turn. But the old currents are deep, and those like Sue who have resisted these currents need help to finish the job and save our country from the very real danger of totalitarianism.
Stuff, The NZ Herald and other mainstream papers, though they will report that Sue has had her charges dropped, will not be quoting from what does not fit their narrative. The mainstream media takes money from the government and is committed to giving mostly what the government wants to hear. Ordinary people who do not consider themselves to be journalists at all need to get the other information out. We are the news now. And by “we”, I mean, not just me who writes this, but everyone who sees the truth and spreads it by whatever means they can. This is our time to assist the tide to turn.
In a hearing before my own trial for trespass on the grounds of Parliament, the judge said that events around the arrest of 120 people on February 10th 2022 was something that most people would now prefer to forget. We truthers take the opposite view – it is vital to remember everything that happened during the excesses of the covid years. The idiocy of the time has not ended. Despite a raft of overseas evidence that the jab causes heart injury, blood clots and much else, people still line up for their death-booster jab, and common sense has not yet returned to our land. And, more than that, there are dark clouds on the horizon that could make it all come back in a far worse manner. One of these is the fact that the World Health Organization wants member nations to sign a new pandemic treaty that would compel them to give away their sovereignty and follow WHO dictates whenever that organization declares that there is a pandemic (and it could be a climate pandemic rather than a health one) and that, as things now stand, it is very possible that the New Zealand government could go along with that.
We must not forget all that has happened – in fact we must remember it at a far deeper level than we are accustomed to doing. Passages from the judges’ verdict are to me the beginnings of such a reminder and a partial return to common sense and the respect for human rights. We have retreated just a little from the global insanity of 2021-2022, and we need to scrutinize very carefully the lessons of that time during the relative calm of the present before the next crisis erupts.
So what did the judges say?
I shall skip over some aspects of the case, such as the distinctions made as to whether Sue was acting as a lawyer or as a private citizen. These were important to the verdict, but what really interests me are the comments that affect us all about the importance to maintain human rights in a time of emergency and the governmental overreach of the time that occurred in the name of public safety.
The tribunal’s verdict opens with an encouraging paraphrasing of an American judge:
The remedy for ill-conceived speech is more speech, not enforced silence. (1)
Further on, the tribunal quotes Sir Geoffrey Palmer:
In a free and democratic society, defaming the government is the right of every citizen. In times beset with threats of terrorism, we should not close the open society. To do so will only encourage its enemies. In New Zealand, free speech and public debate must be “uninhibited, robust and wide open”, and it may include “vehement, caustic and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials”, as Justice Brennan of the United States Supreme Court once put it. (41)
The judges state how it is necessary in this case to pay special consideration to the time and context of when Sue Grey made the remarks for which she was being charged. They were made in 2021 “at a time of rapid law changes and restrictions on rights which had previously been taken for granted,” (46). In the same paragraph the tribunal quotes at length the American Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch who gave a verdict about such things in the case this year of Arizona versus Mayorkas:
Doubtless, many lessons can be learned from this chapter in our history, and hopefully serious efforts will be made to study it. One lesson might be this: fear and the desire for safety are powerful forces. They can lead to a clamour for action – almost any action – as long as someone does something to address a perceived threat. A leader or an expert who claims he can fix everything, if only we do exactly as he says, can prove an irresistible force. We do not need to confront a bayonet, we need only a nudge, before we willingly abandon the nicety of acquiring laws to be adopted by our legislative representatives and accept rule by decree. Along the way, we will accede to the loss of many cherished civil liberties – the right to worship freely, to debate public policy without censorship, to gather with friends and family, or simply to leave our homes. We may even cheer on those who ask us to disregard our normal law-making processes and forfeit our personal freedoms.
“A leader or an expert who claims [she] can fix everything, if only we do exactly as [she] says, can prove an irresistible force.” Every word of this paragraph applies just as much to New Zealand as it does to the US. Here people not only “acceded to the loss of many cherished civil liberties” but in many cases embraced it with fanatical enthusiasm. Sophisticated means of persuasion were used to separate Kiwis and create two classes of people – those who would “unite against covid” and roll up their sleeves to “take one for the team” and the rest of us who knew this was based on fake science and a violation of our human rights. Jacinda Ardern for a time wielded that irresistible power Gorsuch speaks of, and, with the mainstream media almost always uncritically accepting the dictates of her government, there simply was no voice of resistance coming from the Fourth Estate. Others such as Sue had to do what they could to shout out to the masses that human rights were being violated and that our democracy was in danger. Fear had been wielded as a weapon against the voice of reason and, as Justice Gorsuch says, it is a fact that, “Democracies can degenerate towards autocracy in the face of fear.”
Justice Gorsuch goes on to say:
… The concentration of power in the hands of so few may be efficient and sometimes popular. But it does not tend towards sound government. However wise one person or his advisers may be, that is no substitute for the wisdom of the whole of the American people that can be tapped in the legislative process. Decisions produced by those who indulge no criticism are rarely as good as those produced after robust and uncensored debate. Decisions announced on the fly are rarely as wise as those that come after careful deliberation. Decisions made by a few often yield unintended consequences that may be avoided when more are consulted. Autocracies have always suffered these defects. Maybe, hopefully, we have relearned these lessons…
Sue Grey was one of a relative handful of Kiwis who did all they could to pull New Zealand society back from the abyss. The tribunal did not exactly give her a medal or recommend that a statue to her be erected outside the Council buildings in Nelson, but they did at least show some understanding of the situation that this country was in and the reasons for her response:
Ms Grey’s intentions are clear. She considered there was a strong public interest in receiving any information which might suggest that the vaccine, which the public was being urged (and later some were mandated) to accept, might carry some risks. It is clear from her posts that she encouraged those who read the party’s website and Facebook page to undertake investigations and research of their own, to ensure they had informed consent before receiving the vaccine. (53)
The tribunal minimises the gravity of what was happening when they say that “some were mandated” to accept the vaccine when, in fact, what happened was an enormous miscarriage of justice affecting hundreds of thousands of Kiwis. And they talk about mere “risk” when we are learning today that these “risks” are driving up excess death rates around the world by an inordinate amount. The judges dip their toes into the gravity of the situation that is affecting this country and the world, but at least they do recognize it and come down on the right side of history:
In the end we consider that freedom of expression must be jealously guarded and that lawyers, within limits, must not be fearful of saying unpopular things. If that were to occur, they might be dampened or restricted in their role in advancing the democratic rights of their clients. (54)
Only in the last paragraph is there something of a rebuke to Sue:
We nevertheless make plain that the membership of an honourable profession such as the Law brings with it an obligation to be careful and measured in their language – to adopt the medical truism to – “first do no harm”. Had posts made in Ms Grey’s name been better managed or approved by her, it would have prevented the linking of the more extreme statements to her personally. (59)
One of the examples the tribunal gives of such an “extreme statement” was a post that suggested that giving the toxic bio-weapon to healthy children that were in no danger from covid was akin to “genocide”. Yes, perhaps that is extreme, but some of us would actually agree with such a characterisation. Today we are the ones who are seen as extreme, but when a little more time has passed, it will surely be the health officials, politicians and pharmaceutical officials who brought about death, illness and disability on a huge scale through their policy decisions who will be branded as fanatical extremists!
Going back to the words of Sir Geoffrey Palmer that, “In times beset with threats of terrorism, we should not close the open society,” and that, “to do so will only encourage its enemies,” it is necessary to ponder why we are at this moment facing such incredible attacks on our human right to free speech? Former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is one of the key drivers of regulations to limit “hate speech” – a fabrication for which there is no satisfactory definition and which can be used to censor anything a group in power doesn’t like. We have the Disinformation Project who make it their business to pour poisonous rhetoric and scorn on such people as Sue Grey in an attempt to make the rest of the country hate or fear them. And in June of this year it was announced that the Department of Internal Affairs was drafting a new law that would establish a “regulator” who would be able to make decisions with no democratic body to influence him regarding what could and could not be published in social media. I wrote about this in the article entitled Information and Disinformation. The New Zealand government continues to see itself as our single source of truth.
All this shows evidence of further encroachments on our free speech, not movement to reinstate it. It is clear that this government, despite the abuses of the recent past, only wants more censorship, more centralisation of power. And if the other mob takes power in October, things are unlikely to be different unless minor parties can exert some kind of moderating influence.
What of the press? Are mainstream media beginning to do the work of a genuine Fourth Estate and provide the outside voice that is necessary for the functioning of a healthy democracy? They are starting to become more critical of Labour, and it is likely that they will make a big thing of this as evidence that they have begun to do the work that democracy requires of them. But merely moving from Labour to National, is, of course, no real change at all. If the mainstream media read the decision of this tribunal at all, it is unlikely to make much difference to them. It still falls upon the power of WE THE PEOPLE to bring truth into the national dialogue.
Judges’ decisions play a role in how laws are interpreted in future trials. This tribunal was an organ of the Law Society, a body that is involved at present with issues concerning hate speech and free expression. That they decided in this way is significant but is it comparable to a decision made in a High Court or District Court? What kind of importance does it have to New Zealand as we go forward? Not knowing the answer myself, I asked a lawyer. He stated that it certainly was significant and would create a precedent that would need to be taken into account in all similar trials and tribunals. Judges in future cases would need to consider it.
Unfortunately, that lawyer could not, of course, tell me that journalists, politicians, health officials and the police would also need to consider it! We must simply hope that this verdict will be heard in the corridors of power, and people there will see that this is a sign that their time of being able to act without consequences is coming to an end.
The verdict of this tribunal is a step in the right direction, but those who believe in truth and free expression as necessary guardians of our democracy cannot rest yet. Personally, I will only rest when the three people mentioned in my last article (Jacinda, Chris Hipkins and Sir Ashley Bloomfield) are behind bars. The brain-washing that went on to coerce the New Zealand public to take an experimental medication has had an enormous effect on our society and left us divided and in need of healing. The tribunal’s decision is a step in the right direction, but there is a long road still to be trodden.
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