Barrister Tony Ellis has lodged a further complaint with the Judicial Conduct Commissioner after the preliminary report to his initial complaint regarding the alleged interference by the heads of the district and family courts in a case involving Oranga Tamariki. What is revealed in the complaint is staggering and will absolutely shake your faith in the establishment. It reveals a major rift in the judiciary with no fewer than 60 Judges approaching Judge Callicinos appalled by the behaviour of the heads of benches towards him, including the Chief Justice. Just think about that – around one quarter of the judiciary is alarmed by what has happened – but are unable to speak publicly on it.
Normally I would try and summarise an external document, but Ellis has made the case so well and strongly, I would do it a disservice if I did. So it is embedded below for you to read.
I am in 100% agreement with Dr Ellis. That is probably a rare thing. He is a liberal activist lawyer. I am pretty conservative on law and order issues. As a conservative I tend to have higher trust in the system and institutions. Before this case, I would have said I had huge trust in the Office of the Judicial Conduct Commission, as I have had in the Inspector-Generals for Police and Intelligence etc.
But this cases has exposed rottenness. It is important, as it is about judicial independence, and about an incredibly powerful government agency whose staff are found to have lied in court, using back door lunches to try and pressure the Judge to go softer on them.
I am going to be blogging a series of pieces on this, to explain in detail the multiple multiple wrong doings from secret lunches, to smearing a Judge without even interviewing him etc. I should also state for the record that before this case came to light, I didn’t even know Judge Callinicos existed. Actually the one person I do know in this case is Sir Wira Gardiner the former acting head of OT, and I have huge huge regard for him as a person and for his abilities. So I am going against my own friendships here by the stance I take on this case.
I also want to make clear this is not a left vs right issue. Everyone should be alarmed by the events that have unfolded here. There shouldn’t be anyone who thinks that a powerful government agency should be able to exert pressure on a Judge in a case that is going badly for them via secret lunches with heads of benches.