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Man held in custody for over two weeks without a lawyer
21 April 2017
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A New Zealand man has been waiting in custody for over two weeks for a lawyer to be assigned to him, only to discover that his legal aid application was never processed due to an "administrative error".

Nathaniel Graham Bourchier has been held at Christchurch Men's Prison since the beginning of April after being denied bail for charges of robbery and wilful damage. A duty solicitor met Bourchier to help him apply for legal aid on 4 April, however after Bourchier waited for two weeks to find out if his application was successful, he was told that it hadn't even been processed.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice said that Bourchier's application didn't go through due to an "administrative error". She said that the MOJ usually aims to process applications with 24 hours, but  apologised "that it has not met the expected standard in this case".
  "We'll be getting round to your application any day now

Bourchier appeared at the District Court this week via a television link up from his prison to complain. He said that his detention without legal advice was "outrageous" and fumed "what have they been doing, twiddling their thumbs? I shouldn't be here. I could have walked today but I still don't have a lawyer."

Judge Barbara Morris acknowledged that the legal aid application should have been processed "urgently" and understood why Bourchier was concerned. She added "I'm doing what I can to resolve this".


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