Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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R v Mika: An investigation into the Court of Appeal’s neglect of s 27 of the Sentencing Act 2002

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posted on 2021-11-15, 01:28 authored by Harland, Nina W.

The Court of Appeal in the case of R v Mika failed to engage with section 27 of the Sentencing Act 2002 in dismissing Mr Mika’s appeal against his sentence. In both the High Court and Court of Appeal the focus was on Mr Mika’s argument for a discount of 10 per cent to be applied to his sentence to reflect his Māori heritage and associated social disadvantages. Section 27 of the Sentencing Act would allow a court to take into account cultural information regarding Maori offenders’ backgrounds and the systemic disadvantages stemming from this. In dismissing Mika’s appeal, the Court erred in not considering the clear signals from Parliament that the judiciary were to take into account Maori offenders’ backgrounds at the sentencing stage through s 27 in an effort to fit appropriate sentences to Maori offenders. Recent developments in Canada have seen the Canadian judiciary recognise their role in the over-representation of Aboriginal people in the Canadian prison population. The New Zealand judiciary can take lessons from the willingness of the Canadian judiciary to take cultural information into account at sentencing.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Name

LL.B. (Honours)

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970118 Expanding Knowledge in Law and Legal Studies

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Research Paper or Project



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Law


Stephens, Māmari