Justice Minister Simon Power has asked the Law Commission to investigate introducing a European-style inquisitorial justice system in sexual offending cases.That's the whole thing.
Despite the outcry following the David Bain trial, Mr Power said he had no intention of overhauling the adversarial-style system used here where the role of the judge is essentially that of an impartial referee.
But he said the inquisitorial system, where the judge is involved in collecting and determining the facts of the case, could have its uses in victim-intensive situations such as sexual offending and child abuse.
"There might be some elements of the inquisitorial process that might be less traumatic for victims of crime if they are applied in a limited context," Mr Power said.
He said he would also ask Prime Minister John Key for permission to travel next year to assess the inquisitorial system in a country where it is in use, such as France.
The adversarial system is a source of controversy in sexual cases, because the women or child victims can be cross-examined by defence lawyers while the defendant is allowed to exercise the right to silence.
Bomber has written approvingly about this, and I tend to think it is a step in the right direction, although I will withhold my judgement (see what I did there?) until we see some actual concrete proposals.