Obviously obvious #2


A juror wrote to a judge and the  general manager of  high courts calling for better screening of English comprehenion in potential jurors after serving on a jury, most members of which didn’t speak English as a first language.

Some people speak and understand English better as a second language than others do as a first so not being a native English speaker should not rule people out of jury duty altogether.

But whether English is your first language or not, a good grasp of the language and listening comprehension skills ought to be a pre-requisite for jurors.

Monday’s quiz


1. What is this crop?


2. Who said “A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject”?

3. Who wrote the Alex quartet?

4. Which is the highest state highway in New Zealand?

5. What is an anaphora?

Obviously obvious


If you were paid an allowance for tools would that money have to be spent on tools which were work related and not already supplied by your employer?

Most people would think so but not the Eastern Bay  Independent Industrial Workers Union.

The union said that the clause should be read literally and Pedersen could not impose any conditions, as long as it was for the purchase of tools.

Pedersen replied that it was implicit in the agreement that the tools had to be work-related and secondly they had to be tools not already provided by the company.

Chief Employment Court judge Graeme Colgan said in his March judgment that the implied conditions were so obvious, “they really go without saying”.

Obviously obvious to almost everyone  with the obvious exception of the union.


This is the sort of silly behaviour which gives unions a bad name.

Eat less and live longer


A US study found that monkeys fed restricted calorie diets had improved intellectual ability and physical health as they aged.

Researchers think people would find similar benefits from similar diets.


What do you do with rubbish?


When temeratures range from 20ish to nearly 40 every day you don’t want to have rubbish sitting around.

But when you live in a small house, with little or no outside space and no garden for compost what do you do with it?

The answer in Vejer de la Frontera is hang it on the hooks beside your door, too high for dogs or cats to reach, and sometime between 8 and 11 every night from Sunday to Friday the rubbish fairies will pick it up and take it away.

vejer 064

Blogs subject to same legal restraints as other media


Media law was an important part of Canterbury University’s  journalism course and we were fortunate to have one of New Zealand’s top specialists, Professor John Burrows, lecturing us.

The dangers of defamation, contempt of court and prejudicing a trial were repeated many times, with precautionary tales of journalists who had crossed the line to reinforce the seriousness of breaching the law. 

Those lessons have helped me resist any temptation I might have had to write posts on trials while they are under way.

Blogging may be a much more informal method of communicationt than other media, but it is subject to similar legal constraints.

The ODT reports on the issue and quotes Otago University law professor, Mark Henaghan:

“If it [blogging] is outside the law it would be ridiculous.”It would be a good idea if the solicitor-general brought contempt proceedings, as it would be a test case, he said.

“We’ve pussyfooted around blogging too much – it is part of communication.”Any interference with court proceedings was contempt of court.

Whether comments were made in blogs or yelling it out in court, it was still contempt.

“It’s a serious matter,” Prof Henaghan said.

Bloggers don’t have the safety net of sub editors to save us from ourselves and it’s not just what we post but what people may say in comments which could fall foul of the law.

For these reasons I’ll stick with my policy of playing safe.  I’m rarely tempted to post on criminal matters but if I am I’ll be waiting until after the case has been concluded.

July 13 in history


On July 13:

100BC Julius Ceasar was born.

Bust of Julius Caesar

1916 Vivian Walsh became the first New Zealander to gain an aviator’s certificate.

1985 The Live Aid benefit concert took place in London and Philadelphia.

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