Government disregards Judicial Conduct Commissioner

Stuff reports:

A judge who enabled someone he had a connection with to attend a funeral was “inappropriate,” but did not meet the grounds for dismissal, the Attorney-General says.

A complaint about the judge was revealed in Alan Ritchie’s annual report for the year to July 31, 2020.

Ritchie said he received 162 complaints about individual judges, with the number of actual complaints 136, down from 158 in the year to July 2019.

In the report, Ritchie said he believed an inquiry into the conduct outlined in one of the complaints was justified. He added the conduct, which revolved around “usual expectations of judicial impartiality” may have warranted consideration of the removal of the judge and recommended Attorney-General David Parker appoint a judicial conduct panel. …

A spokesman for Parker confirmed to Stuff the complaint was regarding the judge’s involvement in a decision about bail conditions to enable them to attend a funeral.

The judge had a connection with the person, the spokesman said.

“He was satisfied the steps already taken by the Chief District Court Judge were sufficient.”

This is quite concerning.

The reason we have an Independent Judicial Conduct Commissioner is becauise they are independent.

If the IJCC recommends the appointment of a judicial conduct panel, then one should be appointed.

That is not to say the Judge should have been dismissed. That would be for the JCP to recommend.

But for the Attorney-General to basically ignore the Independent Judicial Conduct Commissioner and take no action at all, is not satisfactory.

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