Andrea Vance at Stuff reports:
Public Defence Service lawyers have been hissed at and abused by members of the criminal bar, it has emerged.
PDS head Sir John Hansen has hit out at criminal lawyers over “appalling behaviour” towards its members after the Government-funded legal agency was launched.
The defence service is now being expanded by the Government – but continues to face vehement public attacks from within the legal fraternity.
In a strongly worded speech this week, Sir John, a retired high court judge, said the behaviour was seen in Auckland courts, particularly Manukau.
“It was this kind of unprofessionalism from a small proportion of the defence bar that featured so strongly in Dame Margaret Bazley’s review of legal aid,” he said at the opening of the Hamilton PDS. “It is something that I would have thought following that review would have ceased. Sadly it has not.”
I think it is fair to point out that this is a very small, albeit vocal, minority who behavve so unprofessionally. It is a pity that perhaps NZLS has not been able to take any action at an earlier stage.
Sir John pointed out that “lawyer of choice” was not an option for any charges other than murder before 2001.
I did not know that. So I presume Registrars allocated cases or how did it work?