Newsroom: Law Society ends inquiry over judge criticism

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The Law Society has abandoned its pursuit of a woman lawyer for criticising a judge in a domestic violence case – but defended itself for starting the investigation.

A decision from the society’s National Standards Committee, out today, says it will take “no further action” against lawyer Catriona MacLennan. The committee, chaired by Christchurch barrister Nigel Hampton QC, had launched the complaint of its own volition after MacLennan said in a media interview a Queenstown judge should no longer sit on the bench.

Judge John Brandts-Giesen discharged a man without conviction for attacking his wife and another man, saying many people would have done exactly what he did. MacLennan, a lawyer in the Family Court for many years, told the New Zealand Herald the comments were “abhorrent”, showed a complete lack of understanding of domestic violence and he “victim-blames and minimises assaults on three people”.

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