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Law Society President responds to accusations of denying free speech aimed at regulator

18 May 2018

New Zealand Law Society President Kathryn Beck has responded to fresh allegations that an investigation into a lawyer's comments to a media organisation threatened free speech.

Last week a Lawyers Standards Committee decided to take no further action against the lawyer, Catriona MacLennan who said it was inappropriate for a District Court Judge to continue to serve on the bench.

The Auckland barrister's statements were the subject of an investigation following her public criticism of Judge John Brandts-Giesen.

Judge Brandts-Giesen discharged a Queenstown man without conviction in a domestic violence case last year. The man had assaulted his wife, a male friend and his daughter.

The judge said, ‘This is a situation that does your wife no credit and does the [male] no credit’ and ‘there would be many people who would have done exactly what you did, even though it may be against the law to do so.’

A member of the public complained about Ms MacLennan’s criticism of the judge to media, prompting the committee to investigate.

This week Catriona MacLennan told TVNZ "The Law Society's heavy handed action against me will mean no lawyer will ever again publicly criticise a judge."

Law Society President Kathryn Beck responded to that accusations and others in a follow up interview with TVNZ reporter, Tom Dillane.

You can read that article here.

Last updated on the 16th September 2019