Nats’ golden handshake to disgraced judge

Written By: - Date published: 11:30 am, October 22nd, 2010 - 31 comments
Categories: corruption, Ethics, law and "order" - Tags: , ,

When Justice Bill Wilson failed to recuse himself from a case involving his business partner whom he owed quarter of a million dollars, Attorney-General Chris Finlayson didn’t want to investigate telling fellow National MP Colin King “Justice Wilson is a mate of mine and there’s no way I am pursuing this any further”. Now, Wilson’s got a $885,000 golden handshake from the government.

A judicial misconduct process was underway that looked certain to end up with Judith Collins, acting in Finlayson’s place, having to decide whether Wilson should be sacked. How convenient then, for Finlayson, Wilson, and the government that they have agreed for Wilson to resign and be given a year’s salary ($410,00) and his legal costs of $475,000 (what was he doing, hiring lawyers dipped in rubies?).

This is how the disgraced elite are treated in National’s New Zealand. Paul Henry gets a $150,000 payout. Wilson gets $885,000. National is happy to play fast and loose with taxpayers’ money when the recipients are their mates and it makes an awkward political issue go away.

How many teachers’ pay rises could Wilson’s golden handshake have paid for? How many state houses could it have built?

Why are we being forced to pay out nearly a million dollars to a disgraced judge who resigned? Why isn’t he in jail and paying the Crown’s legal costs?

Why? Because good mates of this government don’t get punished, they get payouts.

31 comments on “Nats’ golden handshake to disgraced judge”

  1. infused 1

    Labour would have done the same thing. Don’t kid yourself.

    • Blighty 1.1

      and it would have been disgraceful then too.

      Are you principled enough to condemn the government or are you too busy on your knees in front of Key?

      • infused 1.1.1

        I never said it was the right thing to do, I’m just saying anyone in power would have let this happen to avoid an enquiry.

        • Blighty

          so you agree what the National government did was wrong.

          just say it, without the ‘they would have done it too’, which is even weaker than they ‘they did it too’ fallacy

    • Vicky32 1.2

      You know that how?

    • bbfloyd 1.3

      go and talk kaka some where else infused… the “labour did it too” rubbish is gotten very old..

    • wasi 1.4

      two wrongs don`t make the right right…

  2. the sprout 2

    If this payout is, as Judith Collins said yesterday, meant to protect the reputation of the Judiciary, then frankly I can’t think of a worse way to achieve that.

    Even if it does take money and time to get to the bottom of this fiasco, surely a proper enquiry would be the way.

    A golden handshake with no answers just undermines the public’s confidence in the Judiciary.

    • pollywog 2.1

      FWIW, as a Pasifikan male, I’ve never had confidence in the judiciary.

      • comedy 2.1.1

        You don’t have to be pasifikan to have little faith in the judiciary polly – though I’m sure it helps.

        This guys history looks particularly whiffy.


  3. deemac 3

    this guy is a disgrace and there seems no valid reason to pay him anything above the legal minimum (which is probably quite handsome on his salary). Definitely one law for the rich going on here.

    • Zorr 3.1

      The legal minimum here would be nil. Dismissed for serious misconduct. Would dare him to appeal that decision.

  4. Scott 4

    “When Justice Bill Wilson failed to recuse himself from a case involving his business partner whom he owed quarter of a million dollars,”

    That I understand has never been established conclusively.

    “Attorney-General Chris Finlayson didn’t want to investigate telling fellow National MP Colin King “Justice Wilson is a mate of mine and there’s no way I am pursuing this any further””

    Finlayson couldn’t intervene because he had a conflict of interest – not because he didn’t want to. That’s why Judith Collins took this matter on. The claim made about Finlayson in the affidavit is essentially hearsay and shouldn’t be taken seriously.

    Judges are entitled to be paid their reasonable legal costs, which is part of the reason for the huge payout. It’s a constitutional protection afforded to judges, to protect them from litigation by people who don’t like their decisions.

    “what was he doing, hiring lawyers dipped in rubies?”

    The fees don’t sound excessive, considering how long this has dragged on. If you want the best representation you pay top dollar.

    If Wilson hadn’t been paid out the case would probably have cost the taxpayer much more. The decision probably saves money.

    • Blighty 4.1

      “The fees don’t sound excessive, considering how long this has dragged on”

      how long this has dragged on? It only started in April this year – half a million dollars is ten years’ full time on the average salary

      “Finlayson couldn’t intervene because he had a conflict of interest – not because he didn’t want to”

      he didn’t want to. eventually the government was forced to act, so it was handed to Collins.

      “The claim made about Finlayson in the affidavit is essentially hearsay and shouldn’t be taken seriously”

      It’s a sworn statement of what someone was told by an MP – you’re calling Richard Bell or Colin King a liar.

      “If Wilson hadn’t been paid out the case would probably have cost the taxpayer much more. The decision probably saves money.”

      Do you take this attitude when someone steals a car or only when rich judges are caught helping out their debtors?

      • Scott 4.1.1

        “how long this has dragged on? It only started in April this year”

        No, this matter’s been going on since at least the middle of last year.

        “half a million dollars is ten years’ full time on the average salary”

        Maybe so, but lawyers are expensive to hire. It’s a fact of life. Top lawyers are even more expensive.

        “he didn’t want to. eventually the government was forced to act, so it was handed to Collins”

        Would you rather he took action even though he was clearly conflicted by a friendship? His stepping down was appropriate.

        “It’s a sworn statement of what someone was told by an MP – you’re calling Richard Bell or Colin King a liar.”

        Not at all. But has Colin King confirmed the conversation? Maybe Bell misheard, interpreted King’s words incorrectly, or is plain mistaken. That’s why third-hand evidence (A said B said C said something) is generally unreliable.

        “Do you take this attitude when someone steals a car or only when rich judges are caught helping out their debtors?”

        I’m sorry, did I miss something? Are you alleging Wilson committed a criminal offence? If not why compare this situation with the theft of a car?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 4.2

      Thats the old ‘burn the village to save it’ story.
      hes a judge, the money isnt saved not by paying his salary,as another judge will take his place.
      And as for saving the legal costs, thats a consideration for private businesses, but the state has higher concerns than the small change these things would cost
      This way it seems the judge has ‘bought his way out a situation of his own making’ with delay and every legal maneuver possible

  5. Nick K 5

    Why should Bill Wilson be in jail Marty?

  6. JayMal 6

    Half that “handshake” was a statutory requirement stupidly put in there by the last Labour government. The other half was a years salary that would have been paid to him anyway while the case drags on, can’t see the case taking much less than a year. On top of that the stupid statutory clause mean’t we’d have to pay his ongoing legal costs… regardless of guilt…

    • Dilbert 6.1

      Jaymal it doesn’t matter if the man was legally entitled to that money or if it makes better economic sense to have done so. What matters is that the National party was involved and they’re all lying, thieving scum so we have to use this opportunity to whine incessantly about how bad they are.

  7. anonomis 7

    What did you expect? This is the result of Labour creating a NZ Supreme Court and removing the final right of appeal to the UK Privy Council. The NZ legal community is small and you can reasonably expect incestuous relationships and conflicts of interest at the higher echelons of the judiciary. Another home run for Labour.

    Even it’s more economical for Wilson to have resigned, it’s a shame that he has because, for there to be confidence in justice, justice must be seen to be done – even for a Supreme Court justice facing serious allegations.

    • anonimis makes an excellent point. When our last appeal is to other members of an incredibly small pool of jurists who undoubtedly know the jurists against whom we are appealing, and most of the lawyers involved, on a personal basis, we’re asking an almost superhuman feat of those judges of last resort.

      Australia manages because the High Court is drawn from different states and the states tend to be quite insular, so it’s far more likely the parties don’t know one another (and of course there’s a bigger pool of lawyers and judges to start with).

      If the Privy Council was seen as an anachronism, perhaps we should have looked at something with Australia? After all, the High Court there deals with appeals under the (often extremely different) laws of six states plus the Commonwealth (and territory laws as well).

      • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1

        So, how many lawyers are there in NZ? And how many are needed to keep the necessary degrees of separation?

        • Herodotus

          So, how many lawyers are there in NZ? To many, and we are over represented in this profession in Wellington.
          Question Why is it that there are so many Lawyers as Mp’s and involved in politics?
          From my sd to say extensive contacts with many lawyers on a professional basis, we in NZ are poorly served in this profession especially when they charge out $250 – $400/hr. I pay a lower rate for an oncologist vists and this IS life and death.
          My comments exclude any newly elected lawyers onto local community boards !!! 😉

  8. William Joyce 8

    Scott said – “I’m sorry, did I miss something? Are you alleging Wilson committed a criminal offence?”
    How would we know? Legal processes were not carried to a conclusion in the matter. His resignation was a negotiated settlement out of court.

    Justice was not seen to be done and the reputation of the judicary was NOT protected. Rather, it was shown that a person who is, by any and every reasonable measure, ethically required to hold to a higher standard of conduct was able to escape official scrutiny and possible sanctions. Further, he was able to retain the benfits of his employment conditions (benefits that could have been lost if sanctioned for not doing his job) and then compensated for any expenses he incured.

    In a properly conducted democracy the rules for the “privileged” are different than for the average Joe.
    One rule since 1215 is that nobody is above the law.
    One rule is that they are more subject to scrutiny and accountability.
    One rule is that they are to be given less room for mercy and accommodation when they offend.

    This action of the privileged protecting the privileged is indefensible, sickens me and shows once again that we do not live in a properly conducted democracy.

    Instead of defending this man take a step back and ask yourself if some Joe working at the local supermarket would have been treated the same.
    Think about the hours of labour that other people have to sacrifice to pay the taxes that will pay for Wilson’s cushy deal.

    Again, the lesser status people of our society pay for the life of the privileged.

    ghostwhowalksnz is right. The state has obligations to the people (in a proper democracy ie. not one where it is a servant to the crown) to ensure that the institutions of state are credible, efficient & timely, impartial and un-corruptable. As such, the considerations are different and the cost to the people is the price we pay to ensure that state, judiciary etc can not be bought, influenced, abused etc. Not only that but seen to be these things.
    Consequently it is in our interests to pay to have Mr Wilson’s conduct investigated and a determination made as to his guilt or innocence in this matter. We are NOT served by him being able to escape scrutiny and possible sanctions. If for no other reason than to show that confidence can be held in the instutions of our state.

    One has to wonder if the pollies and wigs would make the same decisions if they were at the business end of an angry, revolutionary populace.

    *once again, wondering if people should wear more hats, the writer is distracted by the empty burbon glass next to him and the cute chick reporter on tv as she wipes back her hair while displaying her complete ignorance of the subject, history, context and the English language*

  9. I agree the government’s handling of this has been an expensive farce. But hey, with Judith Collins in charge were we expecting anything different?

    But to call Justice Wilson “disgraced” is over-egging the pudding. There’s an allegation of non-disclosure which, sadly, will never be tested in an open hearing now. But the fact remains (and is overlooked in the anti-Wilson tirades above) that he found against the client of the lawyer from whom he’d borrowed the money. So not a whiff of corruption… quite the opposite.

    In fact if I were to play Devil’s Advocate I might say that a judge who’s prepared to annoy someone to whom he owes a lot of money is exactly the kind of judge I’d like to see more of. Most I come up against are so concerned with not upsetting the status quo that trials before them are a foregone conclusion… you just look at the precedents and that’s what you’ll end up with, with no real regard for mitigating circumstances.

  10. nilats 10

    Would not have happened at all like this if we still had the Privy Council as our highest court. NZ Supreme Court judges are of poor quality & bent.

    • Rharn 10.1

      The whole legal system is bent and incapable of straightening itself. Just take a look at the problem of Scot Watson’s conviction and various appeals for correcting that injustice.

      And for those that think he is guilty read TRIAL BY TRICKERY by Keith Hunter guaranteed to change your mind.

  11. Seeking justice 11

    Rex Widerstrom is mistaken. Justice Wilson found for his mate’s client (not agaisnt it).

    The Supreme Court identified the issues when it granted leave to Saxmere to appeal on 7 November 2008:
    Saxmere v Wool Board [2008] NZSC 94 (7 November 2008)
    “A Leave to appeal is granted.
    B The approved ground is whether the decision of the Court of Appeal in Wool

    Board Disestablishment Co Ltd v Saxmere Co Ltd and Others [2007] NZCA 349

    should be set aside because of a reasonable apprehension of bias resulting

    from Wilson J’s relationship with Mr Galbraith QC, counsel for the appellant

    in that Court.


    [1] We have no doubt that despite the earlier refusal of leave, sought only

    on grounds unrelated to the ground now raised, this Court has jurisdiction

    to entertain a second application in the circumstances of this case.

    [2] The appellants have deposed that they were unaware of the full details

    of the alleged relationship between the Judge and counsel. The proposed

    appeal, though dependent on factual matters being established, raises

    important questions concerning the administration of justice in New Zealand.

    If the arguments intended to be made by the appellants succeed there would

    be an appearance of a miscarriage of justice. It is therefore appropriate

    that this Court should hear and determine the proposed appeal on the

    approved ground. That ground encompasses both the alleged apprehension of

    bias and any questions concerning possible waiver on part of the appellants.”

    Justice Wilson knew that the full detai;s of his relationship with Mr Galbraith were in issue, yet he repeated chose to disclose to his fellow judges only the parts that suited him. He gave different information to the Chief Justice. Even with what they had, the Supreme Court said Wilson J was beholden to Galbraith and should not have heard the case. Wilson is trying to relitigate that through the media.
    Interesting how the government relies on court processes- until they dont suit it any more!

  12. randal 12

    everybody in NZ gets a golden handshake except the poor.
    they provide the soil for the justice industry but never reap the rewards.
    funny that.

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    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

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