Complaints

Given the reluctance of the New Zealand Government to fairly and properly investigate complaints alleging gross judicial misconduct, we have chosen to publish copies of some complaints. We invite the public to make their own conclusions as to the integrity and competence of certain judges of the highest NZ courts, as well as of those officials who are supposed to deal with judicial conduct complaints.

Complaint about Ellen France

The way this complaint was handled by the Judicial Conduct Commissioner demonstrates the true personal qualities of Mr Alan Ritchie and the real reasons for his appointment to the JCC role.

Date Posted/Delivered Party Document
29-Aug-16 29-Aug-16 Complainant Complaint about Ms Ellen Dolour France
Attachments:
A. MINUTE OF THE COURT, CA461/2014, CA522/2014, CA460/2014, of 27‑Oct‑15
B. APPELLANT’S APPLICATION FOR RECALL OF [2015] NZCA 426, CA461/2014, CA522/2014, CA460/2014, of 12‑Sep‑15
C. MINUTE OF THE COURT, CA461/2014 and other proceedings, of 29‑Oct‑15
D. APPELLANT’S MEMORANDUM AS TO WILD J’S FAILURE TO DISCLOSE CONFLICT OF INTEREST, CA461/2014 and other proceedings, of 23‑Oct‑15
E. Letter to the Chief Justice, of 11‑Jan‑16
2-Sep-16 JCC Mr Alan Ritchie’s decision
5-Sep-16 5-Sep-16 Complainant Follow-up letter
(the JCC acknowledged the receipt of the letter, but failed to reply to it)

As LawFuel editors wrote about Mr Ritchie on 16 November 2015143. – Alan Ritchie, www.lawfuelf.com.:

Although he seldom appeared prominently in any Law Society publications or reports and shuns publicity, the power remains and has been enhanced with his elevation to the post as Judicial Conduct Commissioner. Doubtless as discrete and almost shadowy as ever, his public position in a post-retirement role as a ‘judge of the judges’ sees Alan Ritchie’s power and influence within the profession continue unabated.

Mr Ritchie was the “Chief Executive Office and then Executive Director of the New Zealand Law Society” for 23 years2New Judicial Conduct Commissioner and Deputy, NZLS, 8 July 2015., quietly floating on top of the murky waters of New Zealand legal circles. Clearly, he can hardly be expected to be familiar with such concepts as honesty or integity.

Complaints about Susan Glazebrook, William Young, Ellen France, Rhys Harrison and John Wild JJ to the Chief Justice

This complaint is about prolific improper assignments in the Court of Appeal and the falsification of a party’s appearance by the Supreme Court. We have chosen to publish this complaint due to the apparent reluctance of the Chief Justice to deal with it.

Date Posted/Delivered Party Document
11-Jan-16 Emailed 11‑Jan‑16; delivered by post 22‑Jan‑16 Mr N Letter to the Chief Justice
Attachments:
#1 Mr N’s open letter of 21‑May‑15
#2 Minister of Justice’s letter of 26‑Jun‑15
#3a Judicial Conduct Commissioner’s decision of 17‑Dec‑15
#3b Harrison J’s response to the complaint, of 22‑Apr‑15 (annexed copies of judgments are omitted for brevity’s sake)
#4 Directions of Harrison J CA144/2014 dated 9‑Jul‑14
#5 APPELLANT’S MEMORANDUM CA144/2014 dated 14‑Jul‑14
#6 MINUTE AND ORDER OF WILD J: ADJOURNMENT APPLICATION CA461/2014 dated 3‑Feb‑15
#7 APPELLANT’S MEMORANDUM IN REGARD TO THE RESPONDENT’S UNSOLICITED SUBMISSIONS AND SUPPLEMENTARY BUNDLE FILED AFTER CLOSING THE RESPONDENT’S CASE CA532/2014 dated 17‑Feb‑15
The complaint also refers to the documents filed in SC118/2015.
15-Feb-16 Emailed 15‑Feb‑16 Mr N Follow-up letter to the Chief Justice
Attachments:
#1 Letter of 23 July 15 by Hon Te Ururoa Flavell
#2 Letter of 23 July 15 by Denis O’Rourke
26-Feb-16 Chief Advisor Response from Mr Kieron McCarron
3-Mar-16 Emailed 3‑Mar‑16 Mr N Reply to Mr McCarron
21-Mar-16 Chief Advisor Response from Mr McCarron

Who is Mr Kieron McCarron, “Chief Advisor Legal and Policy” in the Office of the Chief Justice? He is the same “gatekeeper” who has been around at least since 2007, doing the same unscrupulous job of shielding Chief Justice Sian Elias from the public. Refer, for example, to the correspondence between Mr Keith Hunter, a New Zealand author, and Mr McCarron here (search the web page for the latter’s surname). After several replies from Mr McCarron, who was blatantly misrepresenting Mr Hunter’s letters, the latter concludes: “And so it is that a nation’s Chief Justice is unable, or unwilling, to concern herself with documentary evidence that its Court of Appeal lied…”

We totally agree with Mr Hunter. In our opinion, based on the above documents, Chief Justice of New Zealand Sian Elias is incompetent and lacks integrity. As per the United Nations’ Commentary On the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct,

A judge should always, not only in the discharge of official duties, act honourably and in a manner befitting the judicial office; be free from fraud, deceit and falsehood; and be good and virtuous in behaviour and in character. There are no degrees of integrity as so defined. Integrity is absolute. In the judiciary, integrity is more than a virtue; it is a necessity… Because appearance is as important as reality in the performance of judicial functions, a judge must be beyond suspicion.

It cannot be said that Sian Elias CJ, who keeps turning a blind eye on the fellow judges’ misconduct and seems to find it comfortable to sit alongside them on a judicial bench, is “good and virtuous in behaviour and in character” and “free from fraud, deceit and falsehood”. In any event, she is far from being “beyond suspicion”.

Update. Effective 2 May 2016, Mr Kieron McCarron has been “temporarily” appointed Manager and Registrar of the Supreme Court3Kieron McCarron appointed temporary Supreme Court Registrar, NZLS, 27 April 2016..

Update. Effective 22 July 2016, Ms Ellen France has been appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court and Justice Stephen Kós will replace her as President of the Court of Appeal4Dame Ellen France appointed to Supreme Court, NZLS, 13 July 2016.. Remarkably, the above complaint alleged that Ms France lacks integrity and was professionally incompetent as President of the Court of Appeal.

Complaint about Paul Heath J to the Chief High Court Judge

We have chosen to publish this complaint due to the apparent lack of integrity on the part of the Chief High Court Judge Geoffrey Venning. He evaded the complaint by referring the complainant to the JCC, notwithstanding that the complainant pointed out that the JCC has no jurisdiction to deal with it. Venning J also ignored the invitation to consider whether he would have any difficulty to work alongside Heath J whose fraudulent conduct is in issue.

Date Posted/Delivered Party Document
9-Feb-16 Mr N Complaint about Paul Heath J
12-Feb-16 Chief High Court Judge Response from Venning J

Complaints about Susan Glazebrook, John McGrath, William Young, Rhys Harrison, Mark Cooper and Lowell Goddard JJ to the Judicial Conduct Commissioner

The below complaints have been initially considered by Sir David Gascoigne. He apparently believed they were within his jurisdiction, as he asked Harrison J to respond to the complaints. The new Judicial Conduct Commissioner who replaced Sir Gascoigne, Mr Alan Ritchie, was of a different opinion – he dismissed the complaints without consideration, claiming the lack of jurisdiction under ss 8(2) and 16(1)(a) of the Judicial Conduct Commissioner and Judicial Conduct Panel Act 2004. We note that in his complaints Mr N had expressly stated that he did not seek to challenge any judicial decision, only the specific conduct of individual judges.

Date Posted/Delivered Party Document
10-Apr-15 Mr N Complaint about Rhys Harrison J
Attachment Directions of Harrison J CA144/2014 dated 9‑Jul‑14
The complaint also refers to the judgment [2014] NZCA 526.
13-Apr-15 Mr N Complaint about Susan Glazebrook, William Young and John McGrath JJ
14-Apr-15 Mr N Complaint about Rhys Harrison, Lowell Goddard and Mark Cooper JJ
22-Apr-15 Harrison J Harrison J’s response (annexed copies of judgments are omitted for brevity’s sake)
This document was not forwarded to Mr N until 17-Dec-15, when it was attached to the Commissioner’s decision.
26-Jun-15 Mr N Supplementary submissions
17-Dec-15 JCC Judicial Conduct Commissioner’s decision

References   [ + ]

1. 43. – Alan Ritchie, www.lawfuelf.com.
2. New Judicial Conduct Commissioner and Deputy, NZLS, 8 July 2015.
3. Kieron McCarron appointed temporary Supreme Court Registrar, NZLS, 27 April 2016.
4. Dame Ellen France appointed to Supreme Court, NZLS, 13 July 2016.