JUDGE (n.) A law student who marks his own papers - H.L. Mencken

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."
- Abraham Lincoln

The Judge files contain background factual data on judges, as well as analysis which is more subjective in nature.  Where analysis and opinion are provided, they are the considered and sole opinion of the editor.  Information and news tips on judges can be sent to Spartan News Limited through various means listed on the 'Contact Us' page.  Information may be submitted anonymously but it would be very helpful if reference or source background can be supplied along with information.




2 August 2012
The absence of an independent bar or arm's length appellate courts in New Zealand allow the Supreme Court to increasingly make it up as it goes.  SEE THE LATEST CASE WHICH HAS SURFACED



31 July 2012
The New Zealand Supreme Court has added a further element of unpredictability with the appointment of Susan Glazebrook by Attorney General Chris Finlayson.  Glazebrook was one of the more emotional and erratic Court of Appeal judges but was also seen generally to be one of the more respectful of human rights.

High Court Justice Christine French was appointed to the Court of Appeal to fill the slot.



15 March 2010   
Former Deputy Judge of the Independent Police Complaints Authority Michael Lance QC will face trial in the North Shore District Court on 24 March 2010 for willful vandalism.  As first reported on kiwisfirst a year ago, Lance was witnessed "keying" the car of businessman Richard Cummins in front of the Judge's Browns Bay apartment by café patrons across the street.  Despite the trial being set for months, the half dozen witnesses were only subpoenaed this weekend. 

Further investigation of Judge Lance after his arrest uncovered a disturbing history of criminal conduct.  This included similar incidents of vandalism where the Judge was questioned but never charged, as well as the Judge throwing a trial in Rotorua of a lawyer charged with fraud and blackmail years earlier.  That lawyer, caught on tape trying to blackmail the detective prosecuting his drug-dealing client, turned out to be the business partner of the Judge's son Simon.  Without disclosing the relationship, Lance had himself appointed trial judge and travelled down from Auckland to preside.  In a brazen display of power, Lance J found the lawyer not guilty and then publicly castigated the police for prosecuting the lawyer.  The lawyer cannot be named because Judge Lance additionally gave him name suppression.

Judge Lance's perversion of the course of justice in the criminal trial of his son's law partner occurred when Supreme Court Judge John McGrath was Solicitor General and Police Complaints Authority Judge Lowell Goddard was Deputy Solicitor General.  Police hierarchy reported and detailed the corruption to the Solicitor General and deputy, but McGrath and Goddard concealed the evidence of Lance's criminal offending from the bench and dismissively stated at the time that prosecution of Judge Lance was "not in the public interest".   At least one high ranking Police inspector quit out of disillusionment.  The important news story was never reported by the NZ media. 

Subsequent Official Information Act requests for this evidence held by the Crown Law office have been stonewalled by claims the evidence is protected by legal privilege.  Appallingly, both Justice McGrath and Justice Goddard gave ringing endorsements to Judge Lance's subsequent promotion to Judge of the Independent Police Complaints Authority.  Judge Lance wasted no time claiming victory over the Police officials who had complained about his criminal conduct to no avail years earlier.

Years after McGrath and Goddard's cover-up of Judge Lance's criminal misconduct on the bench, Judge Lance successfully sued a radio talkbalk host Mark Bennett for defamation after the host called the Judge "idiotic". 

Judge Michael Lance is currently retired.  He is aggressively defending the charge but does not want a jury trial.  The trial should prove interesting even if the New Zealand media are afraid to report it.  BACK TO FRONT PAGE



15 September 2009
New Zealand Solicitor General David Collins is currently defending at least three unrelated complaints to the New Zealand Law Society for alleged legal misconduct.  One is by kiwisfirst editor Vince Siemer, in relation to representations by Mr Collins to the Auckland High Court in January 2008.  In brief, that complaint alleges Collins knowingly made false claims to initiate a contempt action that the www.kiwisfirst.com website was in breach of an interim injunction, despite his office conceding that the content was "fully compliant" with the injunction terms.  The complaint also alleges that he deliberately misled Parliament by misrepresenting to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee in August 2007 that the matter was before the Courts - and thereby off limits from a Parliamentary inquiry.

Mr Collins has responded by letter dated 3 September 2009 to Secretary of National Standards Committee Mary Ollivier that he considers he is the victim of a conspiracy by Mr Siemer and the other complainants.  Presumably, on this basis, he refused to address the substance of the complaint and supporting evidence in the form of a 6 September 2007 email indicating his office agreed months before that the website was not in breach the injunction.  Ironically Mr Collins used his response to threaten the Law Society with prosecution for contempt of Parliament if he considered the Law Society was "to collaterally challenge" the Select Committee's decision founded on what Speaker of the House Lockwood Smith had subsequently determined "may not have been correct".  Dr Smith's conclusion was reached before he became aware of the documentary evidence that David Collins was personally involved in the deception of the Committee. 

Collins elected to take a global position in his reply.  He appended a copy of the resultant High Court Judgment ordering Siemer to six months prison for failing to "unconditionally close down" this website as defence that his actions in seeking Mr Siemer's imprison were appropriate. back to front page



27 August 2007
Late in July 2007 it was revealed that Auckland High Court Justice Paul Heath ruled last December - more than a year after Robert Fardell QC (right) fell to his death from the 15 metre high Takapuna Head cliffs into the rocky surf at high tide - that the Auckland Coroner's findings and the evidence into the bizarre circumstances of Fardell's death would be largely suppressed.  This Court ruling by Heath J followed prominent barrister Harry Waalken QC obtaining a restraining order in July 2006 preventing the Coroner from releasing his written report while the family sought a judicial review designed to censure and obscure the Coroner's findings.  Unfortunately for Waalken, the cat had already been let out of the bag at a special inquest conducted at the Auckland Coroner's Court in June 2006.  This was when Auckland Coroner Dr. Murray Jamieson issued an oral report stating Mr. Fardell died from drowning, with the post-mortem examination revealing drowning was precipitated by massive injuries consistent with a fall immediately prior. 
With foul play and suicide the likely scenarios facing police officers responding to report of a lifeless body on the rocks, foul play must reasonably be ruled out simply on the response of police that day finding a middle-age man unexpectedly dead.  What is known is that the police and ambulance response to the call of a body found 6:30 pm 11 December 2005 as the tide receded was unusually brief for an untimely and, presumably, uncertain cause of death.  Although Mr. Fardell was 52 years old and in good health at the time he died, neither cordoning of the scene nor forensic analysis in-situ was apparently conducted.  The ambulance crew left shortly after inspecting the top of the cliff above where the body was found. Moreover, as Fardell was an extremely heavy-set man who additionally had to breach a fence to reach the edge of the cliff, it is highly unlikely that his fall could have been an accident or murder in this area active with people enjoying the early summer weekend.

Nonetheless, Barrister Waalken vehemently pressed the Coroner that suicide was not a finding the Coroner could legally make - or even mention.  While the Coroner seemed ultimately prepared to delicately acquiesce to Waalken's demands, Waalken's subsequent legal motions that the Coroner permanently seal the evidence and his finding were rejected outright by the Coroner as incompatible with the fundamental precept of transparent proceedings and justice.  It is this ruling by the Coroner that has now been overturned by Auckland High Court Justice Heath.

There has been some speculation, unproven, that Mr. Fardell had a life insurance policy, the death benefit from which may have been lost if the Coroner's findings indicated suicide.  However, it is more likely for reasons that will become apparent deeper in this story that, given the tremendous media exposure to the death, concerns were heightened within the judiciary that allowing the circumstances of the death to be made public would only increase the public's curiosity as to what drove Fardell to such self-destruction.  It was anticipated that attention into the deceased's sordid personal and professional life would then raise legitimate and troubling questions as to how such a person could reach the pinnacle of the legal profession and be next in line for a judicial appointment while those in authority had turned a blind eye to numerous disturbing complaints concerning his professional conduct for several years leading up to his death. 

In the days immediately following his death, the New Zealand Herald ran front page stories claiming that Mr. Fardell died of a heart attack while swimming - irresponsible news reporting easily dispelled by facts that were immediately available to any reporter interested in accuracy.  Other than the location of the body on rocks hundreds of meters from the nearest beach, Mr. Fardell was not dressed for a swim as he walked away from his house for the last time.  The inquest officer assigned to the case said the body was found with shorts and no shoes but that his experience was "articles of clothing quickly get separated from the body in the water".   And as any viewer of CSI can tell you, there are definitive forensic tests to quickly determine whether someone has suffered a fatal heart attack. 

The inquest officer, Paul Herman of the Takapuna Police, immediately realized that he was in over his head on this investigation.  The last person to talk to the deceased was Chris Morris, son of (now retired) High Court judge David Morris.  Chris Morris admitted to Herman that he had come to Fardell's home this Sunday afternoon to discuss pending legal matters with the deceased but declined to grant a formal interview or provide further detail.  Same with the widow.  Also, as the press was widely reporting that ten High Court judges had attended the funeral, the estate hired Barrister Harry Waalken QC, widely regarded as a legal Houdini on medical cases, to advance the family's position on the death - and stymie the investigation.   Faced with such powerful stonewalling Mr. Herman did not need to be a genius to identify that careers are made or lost on how someone might handle himself in an investigation where a litany of prominent lawyers and judges were not only expressing a keen interest in his approach to the investigation but were simultaneously speaking out effusively in the press about what a great man of integrity Mr. Fardell was.

Mr. Fardell undoubtedly had many fine qualities, but integrity was not one of them.  It didn't help that Mr. Herman quite quickly uncovered this darker side to the man.  Herman casually revealed to a private investigator early in his investigation that an Asian gang Fardell had a falling out with were phoning him in an attempt to gain information.  Within a month Herman was also informed that Fardell was being sued in the Auckland High Court for deceptive practices by former clients Paragon Oil Systems Limited and Vince and Jane Siemer, and that an application detailing allegations that Fardell three times perjured himself had been filed and served less than two weeks before his death.  Adding insult to a potentially career-killing injury for Fardell was the fact that Hugh Williams, a judge whom Fardell considered dim-witted and vain and, hence, was an irresistible butt of his jokes, was, as judge in the case, going out of his way to unduly protect Fardell.  Fardell was a proud man whose career and legitimate standing among his peers meant everything to him.  This graft from an unlikely ally whom he had been all too quick to dismiss as unprofessional was a tremendous blow to his ego as much as an inescapable symbol of poetic justice. 
Yet another former client, New Zealand inventor Hugh Price, was also embroiled in a legal battle against Fardell before he died.  Mr. Price had years earlier obtained a ruling from the Lay Observer that overruled the Law Society's dismissal of a formal complaint he had lodged against Mr. Fardell for deceptive practices and seeming incompetence.  Despite this ruling of the Lay Observer, the Law Society refused to act on the complaint.  Now, in December 2005, Mr. Price was again challenging Fardell in a current case for acting in a conflict of interest capacity.
Topping off all this was Fardell's close personal and business relationship with powerful Auckland insolvency practitioner Michael Stiassny, a relationship he would come to ruefully regret in the weeks before his death   This was due in large part to (what Fardell was obviously convinced to be) an intentional release of information by his former friend that helped expose Fardell's legal scams.  This information put Fardell's career at risk in addition to severely undermining his credibility.  Whether this was the straw in the mountain of straw that broke the camel's back is difficult to say.  However, given the significant betrayal by someone he had put so much trust in, it is not difficult to surmise this weighed heavily on Fardell as he solemnly walked to the precipice this otherwise sunny Sunday.   Ironically, as Stiassny was trustee of the Fardell family trust (Delfar Holdings Limited) at the time of his death Fardell could not escape his clutches even in death. 
In this pressure cooker where the powerful legal community's obituary contrasted so sharply with the unfolding facts of the man's real life, Officer Herman did the only thing he considered safe under the circumstances - he went to ground.  As the Coroner's representative, Officer Herman was responsible for publicizing the public inquest.  Despite the tremendous number of contacts he had received from media and financially interested parties, Officer Herman informed only the widow and Harry Waalken QC of the public inquest that he had hastily convened barely 2 months after the death.
Officer Herman would arrogantly respond later to those who felt slighted by his subterfuge regarding the public inquest that he was under no obligation to inform interested parties of the date or setting.  This was simply untrue.  The Coroner's Act 1988 specifically required him to notify in advance parties who may have an interest in the inquest.  In the winter of 2006 Judge Borrin issued a ruling on behalf of the Police Complaints Authority of New Zealand stating Herman was derelict in his obligations under the Act.  The Coroner had earlier been compelled to conduct a special inquest due to Herman's railroading of the public one.
The year 2006 saw significant changes in law for the Coroner's Office.  The 1988 Act was repealed in favour of the Coroner's Act 2006, which was passed into law in August 2006, and the establishment of the Coronial Services of New Zealand was formed on 1 July 2007.  Perhaps this chaos explains why the Coroner - having a year earlier been ready to issue his written inquest findings before a cease and desist order of the Court prevented him from doing so - released his report on 20 July 2007, seven months after Judge Heath finally gave him the approval to do so - sans the evidence and guts of the report.  Perhaps the Coroner's delay was a demonstration of conscious indignation at the Court imposed coverup. 
So it was that what started as a whitewash intended to be quickly disposed of in record time was eventually whitewashed by judicial order more than a year and a half after the fact.  And when one reads the Coroner's brief final report, it is obvious that Mr. Waalken earned his substantial fees on this one.  In legal speak, lawyers deceive by omission.  This is obvious in this case when one reads the Coroner's two page report.  This reporter's favorite line from that report is "No evidence was located to suggest that Mr. Fardell harboured any intention to commit suicide.  Indeed, his work on forthcoming cases suggested to the contrary".  It is as perverse as it is ironic that the Coroner could not write massive injuries from a fall directly contributed to the drowning but was encouraged to get into the highly speculative (let alone non-medical) realm of saying busy people do not have time to commit suicide.  Read Coroner's censured report.  
In obvious double-talk the new Coronial Services website states on its' front page, "The (new) Act was designed to enhance public confidence in the integrity and independence of the coronial system."  All too sadly, the net result has proven the opposite true.  BACK TO FRONT PAGE





11 September 2007
In a ruling handed down by Auckland District Court Justice GV Hubble today, the Judge recognized the Mayor as 'occupier' of 'the whole of the Council Chambers and its buildings' for the intent and purpose of the Trespass Act 1980.  This means the Mayor has the absolute right in law, according to Judge Hubble, to order people removed from city buildings whose presence the Mayor decides to be objectional or disruptive - or if he has good reason to believe they might become so - so long as he does not act 'capriciously' in doing so. 

Judge Hubble's ruling found community activist Penny Bright guilty of crimimal trespass and discharged her without sentence, saying that she was well meaning and had suffered enough.  The case stems from a 23 November 2006 Council Meeting called under urgency to consider a new waterfront stadium in Auckland.   Hubbard had denied Ms. Bright speaking rights at the meeting.   Ms. Bright demonstrated her displeasure with the Mayor's refusal by displaying a 1 by 1.5 metre banner in the public gallery that read "Mayor Hubbard's DICKtatorship is a CEREAL matter - Don't Buy it".   The Mayor demanded she put the banner away but Ms. Bright refused; this refusal prompting the Mayor to temporarily adjourn the meeting while he summoned Police.  By the time Police came the banner was gone but, when Ms. Bright refused to leave the meeting, the Mayor had her arrested for trespassing.  The stadium proposal pushed by Hubbard eventually failed.  The case of criminal trespass against Ms. Bright was pursued by the Crown at the Mayor's urging. 

The mild-mannered Hubble appeared reticient in issuing his judgment.  His decision ran contrary to three previous District Court rulings that had favoured Ms. Bright in similar circumstances.  Still Hubble remarkably praised Ms. Bright and, in response to Ms. Bright submissions ahead of the sentencing, said he agreed with all the points she made.  The difference this time, according to the Judge, was the Mayor found the banner justifiably objectionable.   The Judge agreed.

With his judgment today Hubble also strayed further than previous District Court judges in ruling the Mayor was the rightful 'occupier' of the City building and, as such, was within his right to demand people being disruptive or guilty of objectionable conduct be cited for criminal trespass if they failed to leave when ordered to do so.  Paradoxically the Judge recognized the public's right to access public buildings and attend public meetings.  He therefore qualified his judgment by stating the Mayor, as occupier, had this right "provided that occupier is not acting capriciously or on the basis of racial or other prejudice".   Mayor Hubbard's actions, which included refusing Ms. Bright speaking rights on a number of previous and subsequent occasions, were apparently not deemed prejudicial by Judge Hubble due to His Honour's failure to mention this evidence in his judgment.  The Judge also did not seem to mind that neither the Police constable nor Auckland Council Service's Manager Peter Burden could recall whether they had specifically issued a trespass warning to Ms. Bright before arresting her.  The case included prosecution submissions and defense submissions  

Given the stigma of a criminal conviction, Ms. Bright said she is determined to appeal Judge Hubble's decision.  Back to front page











New Zealand Judge files

Information on New Zealand Judges compiled from public and private sources, including all information submitted by the judges themselves

JUSTICE POTTER, Judge Judith Potter, Justice Judith Marjorie Potter J

Professional Data                  2010 Judge Survey Score (1-10)     Ranking (out of 60)

Postion & Titles: Former President of the New Zealand Law Society 1991 -1994, Former President of the Auckland District Law Society 1988, QC
Judge of:  High Court Auckland, since 1997 Retired in 2012 but has had her warrant renewed to sit as needed
Specializations and Professional Interests: Justice Potter has had a career-long interest in pariticipating in the political, governing and administrative functions of the legal profession. Active in Commercial law when she was not greasing the bureaucratic wheels
Professional Comments:

In an informal survey of barristers who regularly practise before the Court, Justice Juditih Potter J was considered the worst sitting New Zealand judge.  This was largely due to her emotional manner and her propensity to disregard the rules and laws she has sworn to uphold.

Judge Potter is not considered to be much of a legal scholar but she has worked very hard in her long working life at the tedious bureaucratic jobs that most inspired and successful lawyers shun - yet jobs which invariably benefit those willing to put in the hard yards by bestowing up them skills on how to work the bureaucracy to personal advantage and cement relationships among other bureaucrats and lawyers she has helped navigate the bureaucracy.

Judge Judith Potter wears her emotions on her sleeve and is unapologetically protective of her friends, the latter trait no doubt a benefit in her bureaucratic functions but ill-suited to her judicial duties of impartiality. She is impulsive and instinctual in her judicial approach and is widely regarded as a judge who does not follow the law when the law does not suit her objectives. Because she can be personally vindictive and has powerful connections, she is at once one of the least respected and most feared High Court judges.

Potter J occasionally has acted as a fill-in judge at the Court of Appeal level. An upshot of Potter's many years associating with the stalwarts of New Zealand business and industry is her propensity to unduly assist those past associates who appear before her. Of particular concern is her past association with the NZ Guardian Trust Company Ltd. Moreover, do not expect her to disclose those relationships when they occur. In 2005 Potter was caught out for ruling in favour of her brother-in-law (defendant KG McCormick) - without disclosing her close family relationship to opposing counsel.  A formal complaint of judicial misconduct was lodged by Counsel months later when he discovered the Judge's concealed relationship.  In June 2005, Chief High Court Justice Randerson refused to discipline Potter for this indiscretion, calling her ruling merely 'procedural' in nature.  It is strongly advisable that all litigants appearing before Potter J make a documented request before commencement of any proceeding that she disclose the extent of her relationships, past and present, with opposing parties and their counsel.

Potter J has single handedly kept the Court of Appeal in business, due both to her workhorse caseload at the lower court level and the number of appeals to her decisions taken to the appellate court.  Her decisions are often overturned out of necessity but her judge peers show her extreme deference in going out of their way to praise Potter J as they overturn her judgments.   It has become so bad, that in August 2007, Potter J's conviction of high-profile murderer Antonie Dixon was thrown out due to her multiple misconduct.  However, in a rare and inexplicable ruling, the Court of Appeal refused to divulge what the judicial misconduct was.  Considering the function of the Court of Appeal is two-fold - to correct poor judgments as well as provide legal discipline through clearly understood precedent - the Court of Appeal's actions were bizarre.  No doubt the Court of Appeal judges felt a public uproar would ensue if the public became aware of Potter J's actions in this high profile murder case where the new trial is expected to cost NZ taxpayer's close to $2 million.

In another breach of law and natural justice, Judge Potter twice presided over the conviction of a 14 year old girl  Pacific Island imprisoned for home invasion where two people were charged and the sole witness was an elderly, partially blind man whose evidence was initially that only one person was involved.  The girl was drunk at the time she was pressured into confessing.  Potter allowed the confession to be presented to a jury.  The first appeal of Potter's judgment was overturned by the Privy Council and a new trial ordered as part of the infamous R v Taito Case which resulted in scathing criticism by the Privy Council of systemic procedural misconduct within the NZ Courts.  The new trail occurred before Judge Potter again and the girl was found guilty and given a four year eight month priosn sentence.  The appeal this time went all the way to the Supreme Court Jessop v Queen (the Privy Council by then abolished by the Supreme Court Act 2004).  The New Zealand Supreme Court chose to criticise the lawyer bringing the appeal and defend the Court in dismissing the set aside application.

The Jessop case aside, a large minority have suggested a racist bent to Potter's conduct in Court.  Potter ruled in favour of racial profiling, specifically advocating targeting people who look like "west Africans" for more thorough searches by NZ Customs at International arrival ports.

In August 2007 a petition for a Parliamentary Select Committee of Inquiry was sponsored by MP Rodney Hide after Potter convicted and sentenced businessman Vince Siemer to six weeks prison for contempt of a gagging injunction relating to a three year old unproven civil defamation case - this contempt trial hurriedly conducted by Potter J during Siemer's known two-week absence from the Country.  Eight months later, Potter J made front page news for aborting a criminal trial in order that her holiday to South America not be delayed.  The Sunday News reported that this move by Potter J would necessitate a new trial in 2009 at substantial delay and huge cost to New Zealand taxpayers.

Background / Education: Judge Judith Potter graduated from University of Auckland with LLB in 1965. She became a partner in Wallace McLean Bawden & Partners and then with Kensington Swann after the firms were merged. Potter was President of the Auckland District Law Society in 1988 and President of the New Zealand Law Society from 1991 to 1994. She was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1994.
Degrees: Potter J received an LLB (Auckland) 1965
Admitted to the Bar: 1980
Company Involvements:

Potter J is a former Member of the Securities Commission.  Potter J was a director of the Electricity Corporation from 1994 to her judicial appointment in 1997. Also a Director of the NZ Guardian Trust Company Ltd.  Fellow of the Institute of Directors of New Zealand.

Personal Data


Mt Eden, New Zealand

Sex: Female
Married:   Children:  
Interesting Relationships and Coincidences:

Judith Potter J relished her roles rubbing shoulders with the captains of industry and the legal profession prior to her judicial appointment. She has nurtured these relationships since. This is of particular concern to those who naively believe she can be an impartial arbiter when it means compromising her obligations to these personal associates. She was caught out ruling on behalf of her brother-in-law on a case in 2005 but Chief High Court Justice Randerson dismissed the formal complaint that resulted against her on the basis Potter's ruling was 'procedural' in nature. 

Ms Potter understands the value of her commitment to these individuals when she needs their protection. If you have a sound case in law but consider the parties may have favour with Justice Potter, it is advisable to seek another judge at any cost.

Miscellaneous:  Judith Potter J's father and grandfather were former Mayors of Mt Eden and Mt Roskill respectively in the first half of the 20th century.  She has long ties to these areas.


Justice Judith Potter. LLB. Justice Judith Potter became a High Court judge in May 1997 after many years as a senior partner in Kensington Swan, Auckland. ...
www.alumni.auckland.ac.nz/uoa/for/ alumni/profiles/profiles/m_p/ judith_ potter.cfm - 11k - Cached - Similar pages


9 Annual Ethel Benjamin Commemorative Address 10 August 2005 ...

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
Justice Judith Potter. Women's Contribution to Law Reform. It is a thrill and a challenge for me to present the 2005 Ethel Benjamin commemorative address. I ...
lawyers.org.nz/wcg/files/ 9th%20Annual%20Ethel%20Benjamin%20Commemorative%20Address.pdf - Similar pages

2005 Annual Conference

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Justice Judith Potter. Lester Levy. "The self-efficacy of. young adults often. grows from the fact. that their teachers. believed in them..." ...
www.agsa.org.au/inalliance/32.pdf - Similar pages

Ethel Benjamin Prize Winners 2002

THE first woman president of the NZLS and one of the country's most senior High Court Judges, Justice Judith Potter will deliver the 9th annual Ethel ...
www.lawfoundation.org.nz/news/eb-prize-address.htm - 6k - Cached - Similar pages

Ethel Benjamin Prize Winners 2002

The 9th Annual Ethel Benjamin Commemorative Address Given by Justice Judith Potter 10 August 2005 WOMEN'S CONTRIBUTION TO LAW REFORM IN NEW ZEALAND ...
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The Judges of the High Court | Courts of New Zealand

Justice Judith Potter graduated LLB from the University of Auckland in 1965. She became a partner in Wallace McLean Bawden & Partners and then in the ...
www.courtsofnz.govt.nz/about/high/judges.html - 44k - Cached - Similar pages

Jury in Rickards trial retires for night - New Zealand, world ...

Justice Judith Potter told the jury of eight men and four women this morning that what other people may have said outside the courtroom about the trial was ...
stuff.co.nz/3977340a10.html - Similar pages

Judgement favours developers - Local News on Stuff.co.nz

In her ruling Justice Judith Potter said the developers were mainly successful in their court action. She found errors in law in aspects of the council's ...
www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/4010119a6497.html - Similar pages
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New Zealand Herald

In a reserved decision, Justice Judith Potter said the allocation of costs for the stations placed in sharp focus the council's exacerbator-pays/causation ...
www.nzherald.co.nz/search/story. cfm?storyid=000E86E4-A86A-1607-B02C83027AF1010F - 23k - Cached - Similar pages

Wife-killer loses appeal bid - 30 Mar 2007 - NZ Herald: New ...

In the High Court at Auckland last October, Justice Judith Potter jailed Zhou, a New Zealand resident, for life, with a minimum term of 17 years in jail. ...
www.nzherald.co.nz/section/ 1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10431569 - 27k - Cached - Similar pages
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27 March 2008 
New evidence is coming to light over Auckland High Court Judge Judy Potter aborting a multiple defendant criminal trial lat week so that her six-week South American Holiday was not delayed.  Seven days into the expected ten-day trial, Potter J called an abrupt end to proceedings, saying she had to catch a flight out in three days time (Good Friday) to attend a judicial conference in Panama at taxpayer expense, conveniently followed by Her Honour's extended 'sabbatical' ( called 'holiday' to all those less privileged) in the region.
The Ministry of Justice quickly came to the embattled judge's defence, stating it was the lawyers on each side of the case who caused this anticipated one-week trial to extend into twice that long, thereby forcing the judge to abort the trial.  The lawyers involved refused to comment in response, fearing the certain wrath of the Court that would eventuate from setting the record straight. 
The simple fact is the presiding judge controls their courtroom.  Potter J is notorious for taking hour and a half lunches and further 25 minute breaks in the morning and in the afternoon, a practice that was not curtailed in this trial.  There is little question the trial could have concluded had Potter J better managed the proceedings and tea breaks.  As a result of her inept management, the overburdened Courts must now schedule a new trial for sometime next year - at substantial additional cost to the taxpayers, as well as to natural justice.  More troublesome, the Ministry of Justice has gone silent on why Potter aborted the trial on a Tuesday when her scheduled flight was not until three days later. 
In response to the public uproar, the Ministry of Justice has claimed that Potter J's flight could not be rescheduled.   Perhaps realizing the absurdity of such a claim, the Ministry attempted to bolster it by stating Potter had booked the flight a long time ago and was entitled to her holiday. 
New Zealand Minister of Justice (and retired dental assistant) Annette King was unavailable for comment.  While talk radio was abuzz, few lawyers would go on the record with comments over the episode.  The reactions of several prominent barristers and academics ranged from uncomfortable laughs to expressed hopes that something constructive comes from the media expose of the judge's conduct (the expose itself a rarity in New Zealand).  One had to laugh at the Sunday-News' tempered comment that Potter J was a "highly-respected" judge, a term he claimed to have never heard from anyone with any experience before Judge Judy. 
In 2005, Potter J was caught ruling on behalf of a defendant in a proceeding without disclosing the fact that the defendant was her brother-in-law (KG McCormick).  When the complaint of judicial misconduct went to the head of bench, Chief High Court Judge Anthony Randerson, Randerson ruled that he saw no problem with her undisclosed involvement, citing Potter's ruling was 'procedural in nature' and did not go to the merits of the case.
Two years ago, Queen's Counsel Grant Illingworth said of Potter "She's an embarrassment to the Court", adding "When she gets a bee in her bonnet, the law does not matter".  Last July, Potter scheduled a contempt trial against Auckland Businessman Vince Siemer for allegedly breaching a gag injunction in an unproven civil defamation claim during his known two week absence from the country.  She found him guilty in absentia and sentenced him to six weeks in Mt Eden Prison for breaching the injunction.  A Parliamentary inquiry into the circumstances of the imprisonment was later killed by the Solicitor General David Collins on the false premise that the matter was sub judice.
The following month, the Court of Appeal overturned the conviction of high profile 'samurai sword' murderer Antonie Dixon due to judicial misconduct by Potter J in his jury trial and conviction.  The new trial is anticipated to cost the NZ taxpayer's over $1 million. 
Early this year, Potter J released Daniel Crichton in the infamous "medals for bail" deal after Silver Cross medals stolen from a war museum were returned in a 'don't ask, don't tell' quid pro quo. 

Potter earns $370,000 per year, plus additional fringe benefits valued in the range of $40,000 per year.   BACK TO FRONT PAGE

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