'Supermarket grab' lands former high-profile lawyer in hospital

By Edward Gay

Christopher Harder. File photo / Martin Sykes
Christopher Harder. File photo / Martin Sykes

Former high-profile lawyer Christopher Harder got more than he bargained for after taking part in "90-second supermarket grab" competition, landing in hospital with chest pains.

Mr Harder said his employer, lawyer Melanie Coxon, had won a chance to grab as many groceries as she could in 90 seconds at a North Shore supermarket on Tuesday but was wearing "slippery boots" so he substituted for her.

"I did a dash like a whirlwind."

But after finishing the competition and heading back over the Harbour Bridge to the city, he felt a tight pain in his chest and pulled over to the side of the motorway.

Ms Coxon took the wheel and drove Mr Harder to Auckland Hospital.

While Mr Harder would not reveal what the diagnosis was, he said he was OK now and was out of hospital within 48 hours.

"They gave me the best possible service ... I've already been back to work."

When APNZ caught up with him this afternoon, Harder was at another supermarket, buying salmon steaks which are good for the heart - "that's what they say".

"Life is good. Everyday above ground is great."

Mr Harder had a colourful and high-profile career as a lawyer that spanned 25 years, including defending Neville Walker.

Walker - along with dominatrix Renee Chignall - was charged with the 1989 murder of cricket umpire Peter Plumley-Walker. The couple were eventually acquitted after three trials.

Mr Harder was struck off as a lawyer in 2006 after complaints to the Auckland District Law Society disciplinary tribunal about him telling a client to "f*** off" and drinking alcohol during their formal meetings.

In 2003, Mr Harder pleaded guilty to two charges of common assault after grabbing fellow lawyer Barry Hart by the collar and punching him as he lay on the ground.

He was discharged without conviction, claiming he was on a weight-loss drug at the time that could cause an overreaction to stress.

Mr Harder has published three books and has recorded a song about the law called Legal Sunscreen in the Public Interest.

He now works for Ms Coxon, a lawyer who specialises in drink-drive cases.

- APNZ

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