Clint Rickards is now officially a lawyer.
The man who had to front up to lawyers at his own highly-publicised rape trial, now finds himself among their number.
The former assistant commissioner of police was admitted to the bar in a brief ceremony at the Auckland High Court this morning.
Mr Rickards and two other former police officers Brad Shipton and Bob Schollum were accused of raping Louise Nicholas in the early 1980s.
All three were acquitted in March last year, but it was revealed later that Shipton and Schollum had been convicted in 2005 of the pack rape of another woman in Mt Maunganui in 1989.
Mr Rickards, who resigned from the police in November last year, completed a law degree at Auckland University and subsequently applied to the High Court in Auckland for admission as a barrister and solicitor.
Police paid out Mr Rickards' contract last year in a $300,000 resignation deal that also had the effect of stopping disciplinary charges against him.
The money represents 13 months' salary - from the date he resigned up until next month, when his contract would have ended.
Louise Nicolas said the "golden handshake" could have helped countless people and crisis centres.
She also opposed his application for a "certificate of good character" by the Auckland District Law Society, a pre-requisite of becoming a lawyer in this country.
The New Zealand Herald wrote an editorial piece entitled "Give Rickards his chance", expressing the opinion that the former top cop had every right to become a lawyer, as he had never been found guilty of any dishonesty.
- NZHERALD STAFF