Did Judge Lowell Goddard Lie to Parliament?

Michael Lance and Lowell Goddard photoYesterday, before a panel of British MPs, Lowell Goddard replied there is no such thing as ‘the establishment’ in New Zealand – indeed, claimed she did not understand the term and needed it explained to her.  She also claimed there was no truth to kiwisfirst’s allegation she covered up judicial corruption by disgraced Judge Michael Lance – who she later had appointed as her deputy chair at the Independent Police Complaints Authority (now the Independent Police Conduct Authority).  Story photo is Ms Goddard posing with Lance upon his appointment.

Ms Goddard last week was tapped to head an official inquiry by Home Secretary Theresa May into broad child sex abuse allegations in Great Britain.

Rather than address the facts published by kwisfirst, Goddard leveled an ad hominem attack on this publisher – a shameful tactic of desperate lawyers commonly scorned in courts of law.

Here is more detail of Goddard’s complicity in the criminal cover up.

In 1993, Rotorua lawyer Rob Vigor-Brown was caught on tape blackmailing then-CIB Detective Sgt Chris McLeod.  Vigor-Brown wanted his drug-dealing client’s charge reduced from an indictable offence to possession and threatened he had dirt on McLeod which he would make public if his demand was not met.

Evidence rarely gets better than a recording of a defendant committing a crime.  Vigor-Brown was prosecuted by the Crown Solicitor for Rotorua.  Judge Michael Lance came from out of town to hear the judge alone trial.

Judge Lance dismissed the case and declared the charge should never have been laid.  He issued a suppression order.

Police soon discovered Lance’s son Simon worked for Vigor-Brown.  A police investigative report used the word ‘corruption’ for Lance’s conduct.  It was prepared by Detective-Inspector John Dewar, approved by Crown Solicitor John McDonald (now a District Court Judge) and District Commander Trevor Beatson.  Police legal Superintendent Les McCarthy next acted on the report, seeking Crown Law approval that charges be re-laid against Vigor-Brown, with the downstream effect of Judge Lance exposed as a bent judge.

In addition, a woman came forward with unrelated sexual abuse allegations against then-married Lance.

Also unrelated, Judge Lance infamously sued radio talk show host Mark Bennett for defamation because the host called Lance pig-headed, arrogant and idiotic.  Lance reportedly weaseled a $40,000 settlement.

Lance’s suspect judicial conduct was later raised in Parliament by former National MP Ross Meurant – a former top police official in Auckland.

In 1994, then-Deputy-Solicitor General Lowell Goddard refused the police request into the Vigor-Brown/Lance scandal, stating it was not in the public interest to expose the judicial corruption and pursue a new prosecution of Vigor-Brown.

What Lowell Goddard did years later was much more insidious.

Lowell Goddard was appointed a High Court judge and, later, judicial chair over the IPCA, an oversight authority which receives complaints against police.

In 2007, Lowell Goddard had Lance appointed as her deputy at the IPCA.  The Hansard (Parliamentary) record records Goddard “recommends (Lance) as a sound appointment choice”.

Police were gobsmacked at the audacity of Goddard appointing a bent judge she had covered up for.  She appeared to be sending a blatant political message to Police of their subservient role to corrupt power-brokers in the New Zealand establishment.

The following year, Lance was caught keying a car partially blocking the drive to his Takapuna apartment.  It was the third time police had been called out for such vandalism but the first time multiple witnesses had seen the offending from 15 metres away and the vehicle owner wanted the offence prosecuted.  The Police criminally charged Lance, prosecuting the case themselves in 2009 after Solicitor-General (and now judge) David Collins declined to allow Crown Law to prosecute the judge.  Lance left the IPCA in disgrace but was found not-guilty in a judge-alone trial presided over by Judge Kevin Phillips – a David Crosby (of 1970’s rock band Crosby, Stills and Nash) look-alike who infamously had a woman client douse herself with petrol in his Southland law office before his 2006 judicial appointment.  She said Phillips was a corrupt lawyer who drove her to the edge.  Kiwis all know she was crazy to begin with, wink ;-}.

This publisher has never met Ms Goddard.  It is the evidence alone which strongly suggests Ms Goddard lied to British MPs about her complicity in covering up and then appointing a bent judge to oversee the very police she years earlier had refused to allow to expose Lance as corrupt.   All the key players are still alive with the exception of Trevor Beatson.

And why is no one reporting Goddard has an unsavoury reputation among lawyers in New Zealand as a political puppet.  She ranked dead last in the 2014 Judge Survey Results by New Zealand lawyers largely because she is perceived to be a judge who kowtows to powerful interests, particularly Crown interests.

It is little secret New Zealand Attorney-General Chris Finlayson has run interference for Goddard, assuring the British Home Secretary there is no truth to these reports and working overtime to prevent these inconvenient facts from becoming accepted.

If there is one thing the New Zealand establishment (commonly referred to in New Zealand as ‘old boys’) do extremely well it is propaganda.   Will it work in Britain?   If it does, bend over because you are in for a good-old Kiwi “Goddarding”.  And if past performance is an indicator of future success, do not be surprised if Ms Goddard appoints the most virulent sexual offenders to assist her inquiry.