Judges asked for caution in misconduct case

The judges being asked to stop judicial conduct proceedings against Supreme Court judge Bill Wilson were asked to be cautious about intervening because of public perceptions.

But Justice John Wild said that no one had a keener interest in judges acting properly than other judges "but even judges are entitled to justice."

David Goddard QC told the three judges on the bench at the High Court in Wellington that if they curtailed the process it could be "destructive of the public confidence" that the law envisaged.

Mr Goddard is acting for Judicial Complaints Commissioner Sir David Gascoigne.

Justice Wild, Justice Forrest Miller and Justice Graham Lang are considering a judicial review of the decision by Sir David to refer complaints about Justice Wilson to a Judicial Complaints Panel.

The panel has the power to recommend to the Attorney General removal of a judge, the final decision of which is Parliament's.

Justice Wilson's case is that Sir David failed to set out the reasons why he made his decision to refer the case to a panel.

The case centres on whether Mr Wilson sufficiently disclosed his business relationship with lawyer Alan Galbraith who was appearing before him in the so-called Saxmere case and later when the Supreme Court considered the claims of bias.

Sir David in his report made it clear it was Justice Wilson's conduct around disclosure issues subsequent to the initial Saxmere case that caused him to refer it to a panel.

(Published by NZ Herald - September 2, 2010)

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