This is fascinating: the best and worst places to commit a crime in New Zealand

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It clearly assists if you are being processed by a court that sees things a little differently. ?

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Queenstown lawyer Liam Collins said that town’s high diversion and discharge rate reflected its unique demographic and party culture.

“We all know alcohol leads otherwise good people to make stupid decisions, which can affect the rest of their lives.”

The offences were often at the low end – shoving or a single punch – while the consequences could be as severe as deportation.

Many were foreigners on their OE, working in minimum-wage jobs requiring liquor licences or bar manager’s licences, which they could lose if convicted. Others had visas sponsored by a specific employer so could not get other work if they lost their job due to a conviction.

“The public perception is that rich white people get them [discharges]. I don’t accept that at all.”

Queenstown’s year-long trial delays also encouraged people to plead guilty and try for a discharge, rather than challenging the charge, Collins said.

Criminal lawyer Steve Bonnar, QC, who convenes the Law Society’s criminal law committee, said regional variations could reflect the different kinds of jobs in different areas.

Cities generally had higher discharge rates, as they were home to more people whose livelihood would be jeopardised by a conviction.

“A conviction for drink driving or a minor assault may have no real consequences for a 40-year-old farm labourer in the middle of the country somewhere. Whereas if someone is a young person embarking on a professional career which might involve them travelling to Canada, for example, then it may have significant consequences.”

I’d hate to come across as a wet leftie liberal, but is that fair?

Or should the justice system be… blind?

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– Stuff

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