22 Oct 2010

Commissioner to dismiss complaints against judge

3:12 pm on 22 October 2010

The Judicial Conduct Commissioner has indicated he will not continue investigating complaints made against Supreme Court judge Bill Wilson.

Justice Wilson had been under investigation for an alleged conflict of interest and resigned on Thursday.

He will receive one year's salary of $410,000 and the Crown will also pay his solicitor-client costs of $475,000 to date.

The commissioner, Sir David Gascoigne, began investigating Justice Wilson for alleged misconduct after questions were raised about his business relationship with a lawyer who appeared before him in a Court of Appeal case.

Justice Wilson took High Court action, challenging the establishment of a panel to look further into his conduct.

In September, the High Court referred the case back to the Judicial Conduct Commissioner for further consideration.

In a statement released on Friday, Sir David says there is no useful point in him continuing his investigation.

He says he will take no further action until 5 November, when Justice Wilson's resignation takes effect, and on that date he will dismiss the complaints.

Lawyer calls for inquiry

The Nelson lawyer who lodged a complaint against Justice Wilson

over the potential conflict of interest says his resignation leaves too many unanswered questions.

Lawyer Sue Grey, who represented the original complainant in a case over wool levies, says the situation has exposed serious problems with the way potential conflicts of interest are handled.

She is calling for a commission of inquiry into the way judges are appointed and promoted.

Ms Grey says if the Crown is giving Justice Wilson a golden handshake, it should also compensate her client.