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David Fisher

David Fisher is a senior reporter for the NZ Herald.

Complaints body sent private details to journalist

An administrative manager attempted to send emails to Sir David Gascoigne - but accidentally sent them to a journalist instead. Photo / Thinkstock
An administrative manager attempted to send emails to Sir David Gascoigne - but accidentally sent them to a journalist instead. Photo / Thinkstock

The body charged with investigating complaints about judges has accidentally released personal details about those who had sought its help.

The privacy breach happened when an administrative manager attempted to send emails to Judicial Complaints Commissioner Sir David Gascoigne - but accidentally sent them to a journalist with the same first name.

Gascoigne responded to the revelation with an apology, which he said would be personally conveyed to those affected. "I deeply regret this mistake has occurred. [The email] was intended for me as Commissioner."

He said an error of the kind had never previously occurred and the staff member involved was upset at the mistake.

The Herald on Sunday agreed to Gascoigne's request not to name the individuals involved or the judges against whom they had lodged complaints. However, we can reveal complaints were lodged against judges at the Family, District and High Courts.

The complaints contained allegations ranging from judges being "bored", to "not interested in hearing defence" and "not interested in the truth". There was also an allegation that a judge had not taken seriously a claim that two young men had died as a result of serious offending by senior politicians and commercial leaders.

The documentation contained complainants' names and addresses, and the progress of inquiries into the complaints.

The commissioner received 181 complaints about judges last year, handled 319 and finalised 173.

- Herald on Sunday

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