Former Deputy Judge of the Independent Police Complaints Authority Michael Lance QC will face trial in the North Shore District Court on 24 March 2010 for willful vandalism. As first reported on kiwisfirst a year ago, Lance was witnessed “keying” the car of businessman Richard Cummins in front of the Judge’s Browns Bay apartment by café patrons across the street. Despite the trial being set for months, the half dozen witnesses were only subpoenaed this weekend.
Further investigation of Judge Lance after his arrest uncovered a disturbing history of criminal conduct. This included similar incidents of vandalism where the Judge was questioned but never charged, as well as the Judge throwing a trial in Rotorua of a lawyer charged with fraud and blackmail years earlier. That lawyer, caught on tape trying to blackmail the detective prosecuting his drug-dealing client, turned out to be the business partner of the Judge’s son Simon. Without disclosing the relationship, Lance had himself appointed trial judge and travelled down from Auckland to preside. In a brazen display of power, Lance J found the lawyer not guilty and then publicly castigated the police for prosecuting the lawyer.
The lawyer cannot be named because Judge Lance additionally gave him name suppression.
Judge Lance’s perversion of the course of justice in the criminal trial of his son’s law partner occurred when Supreme Court Judge John McGrath was Solicitor General and Police Complaints Authority Judge Lowell Goddard was Deputy Solicitor General. Police hierarchy reported and detailed the corruption to the Solicitor General and deputy, but McGrath and Goddard concealed the evidence of Lance’s criminal offending from the bench and dismissively stated at the time that prosecution of Judge Lance was “not in the public interest”.
At least one high ranking Police inspector quit out of disillusionment. The important news story was never reported by the NZ media.
Subsequent Official Information Act requests for this evidence held by the Crown Law office have been stonewalled by claims the evidence is protected by legal privilege. Appallingly, both Justice McGrath and Justice Goddard gave ringing endorsements to Judge Lance’s subsequent promotion to Judge of the Independent Police Complaints Authority. Judge Lance wasted no time claiming victory over the Police officials who had complained about his criminal conduct to no avail years earlier.
Years after McGrath and Goddard’s cover-up of Judge Lance’s criminal misconduct on the bench, Judge Lance successfully sued a radio talkbalk host Mark Bennett for defamation after the host called the Judge “idiotic”.
Judge Michael Lance is currently retired. He is aggressively defending the charge but does not want a jury trial. The trial should prove interesting even if the New Zealand media are afraid to report it.