Judicial infringement of the right to internet access by the imposition of special sentencing conditions
Section 14 of the Bill of Rights Act extends to protect internet access within New Zealand as a means of expression. Judicial restriction of internet access via the imposition of special conditions during sentencing is therefore an infringement of s 14. This interpretation of s 14 is consistent with its purpose, legislative history, and the broad approach afforded to human rights generally, as well as international case law and statutes. Any imposition of special conditions restricting internet access must be a demonstrably justifiable limit per s 5 of the Bill of Rights Act to be legitimate. The practical considerations of such a technological limit also warrant judicial consideration before it is imposed. As yet, New Zealand has no explicit protection of internet access but growing acceptance of its importance indicates that reform or judicial acknowledgement are, or soon will be, required.