Wednesday, 27 October 2010

As much Justice as we can afford

They can’t talk about it in Parliament, but I’m sure we can all talk about it here.

“Justice” Bill Wilson has resigned.  A “Justice” who, midst New Zealand’s incestuous legal fraternity, presided over a trial a few years ago in which he clean forgot that one of the lawyers before him was his partner in a business, to whom he owed a significant personal debt.

“Justice” Wilson found in favour of his partner his partner’s client.

“Justice” Bill Wilson has now resigned, but not before being given more than a million dollars of your money to extricate his arse from behind the Supreme Court bench (one-million dollars sure buys a lot of Justice, don’t it) a payout that includes half-a-million dollars of your money to cover the cost of his lawyers.

Actually, that’s mostly lawyer, singular. One Colin Carruthers QC (“QC” standing for Quite Costly), who spent the first first few months after Wilson’s “oversight” came to light lying trying to keep the Justice’s name out of the papers, the next few months offering stories to the media that were patently unbelievable (“my client did not owe the lawyer the debt, M’Lud, and if he does he didn’t remember it”), and has spent these last few months negotiating the terms of this deal—which netted his client sufficient, and more, to get him out of this debt and several more besides.

Terms which, when Mr Quite Frigging Costly first offered them, were even higher.  (One-million dollars buys you a lot of Justice, but some want more Justice than others.)

Such is the way “justice” goes in New Zealand.

H.L. Mencken one expressed his feelings about lawyers this way, “If all the lawyers were hanged tomorrow, and their bones sold to a mah jong factory, we’d be freer and safer, and our taxes would be reduced by almost a half.”

I know exactly how he feels.

PS: By the way, in the interests of justice being seen to be done (here at this blog at least, if nowhere else), I should tell you that Mrs Colin Carruthers QFC says in the Herald that poor Mr Wilson (as the Un-Justice will be called from November 5th, Bonfire Day) is as pure as the driven. Owed nothing to no-one. Had no conflicts of interest hearing a case from his business partner. None at all. Has been done like a dinner.

Which is odd, really, because in the very early days before his friend Mr Wilson’s actions became public, Mr QFC himself “had tried and tried to persuade [Wilson] to disclose the indebtedness but he had adamantly refused.” (“But my client has no indebtedness, M’Lud … ”)

It’s not just lawyers who lie for a living, is it.

Here’s John Cale: “I believe you, Mr Wilson … ”


  1. Except it was an appeal in which the judge was just one of three, not a trial where he was the sole judge. So at least one of the other two judges must have agreed with him on the decision.

    And nobody has actually said the decision was wrong. Just that it was not a good look.

    And there is also still real disagreement on whether the judge owed the lawyer anything.

    And the judge staying on for the entire process would have cost far more than a million dollars, and it would probably have ended up with him being reprimanded because even though the situation looked terrible, it can in no way be seen as misbehaviour or incapacity, the only reasons a High Court judge can be removed.

    And I cannot see how Carruthers QC needed to lie in any way, nor that he has lied at all. The points he made are indeed arguable on the facts. You should provide some evidence that Curruthers QC did lie, that being probably the worst thing a lawyer can do in court.

    Sorry, in my view your opinion is mostly incorrect.

  2. "And nobody has actually said the decision was wrong."

    Not the issue. Issue is whether this justice should have disclosed his relationship, and his debt.

    "Just that it was not a good look."

    Justice must not only be done. It must be seen to be done.

    Except in Wellington.

    "...there is also still real disagreement on whether the judge owed the lawyer anything."

    The only confusion is in Colin Carruthers's statements.

    "And the judge staying on for the entire process would have cost far more than a million dollars..."

    Ah yes, he and his Quite Fucking Costly counsel have done us all a favour, haven't they.

    "And I cannot see..."

    You're anonymous. So any argument relying for its premise on what you can or cannot see, or on what your "view" might or not be, is invalid. Not to mention risible.

    Either use a name, or have your views treated with the derision they deserve.


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.