Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Police question whether lawyer got special deal

Sentence and the way hearing went raised concerns

Anita Killeen was discharged without conviction. Photos / Sarah Ivey
Anita Killeen was discharged without conviction. Photos / Sarah Ivey

Police are investigating whether barrister Anita Killeen received special treatment when she was sentenced for forgery and using a forged document this week.

A senior detective has began speaking to people who were in the Auckland District Court when Killeen was discharged without conviction on Tuesday.

Both the sentence and the way the hearing went - with Killeen not having to enter the dock and being allowed to remain seated when she was being sentenced - have raised concerns.

Auckland City police spokeswoman Noreen Hegarty said officers had begun speaking with people. "The inquiries you refer to were initiated by police to establish whether there were deviations from accepted process/standard procedures during Anita Killeen's appearance in court."

Ms Hegarty confirmed police were considering an appeal against the outcome of the Killeen prosecution.

David Lloyd-Barker wrote to the New Zealand Law Society's legal standards officer, questioning the procedures that were followed. Killeen was the former chief prosecutor at the Serious Fraud Office and admitted one charge of forgery and one of using a forged document - crimes that carry maximum jail terms of three and 10 years.

Those charges relate to emails she sent to the National Business Review and the Herald which appeared to come from then SFO chief executive Adam Feeley.

An investigation showed the email wasn't sent from Mr Feeley, or the SFO. The court was told Killeen was in the 1 per cent of women who suffered traumatic psychological effects after taking a double dose of fertility drug clomiphene citrate.

Her lawyer Paul Davison QC submitted she was suffering the side effects of the drug at the time the email was sent to the media outlets.

The publicity the case has generated has moved New Zealand's top fertility clinic to reassure its patients about the safety of clomiphene citrate.

Fertility Associates, with 30 specialist doctors and about 70 per cent of the market, said about 5000 of its patients had taken Clomiphene, which it described as the original fertility pill.

"Clomiphene has been used since the 1960s to induce or stimulate ovulation and will have been used by tens of millions of women, including over 5000 at Fertility Associates' clinics in the last 10 years," the business told patients on its website.

"About 10 per cent of women using Clomiphene experience side effects related to changes in hormone levels, such as hot flushes, breast tenderness or bloating.

"Between 1 per cent and 3 per cent, depending on the studies, experience some degree of sleeplessness or headaches and a few people have visual disturbances."

Rare cases were reported in medical literature in the past 30 years of women experiencing psychotic episodes after taking Clomiphene.

"It is sufficiently rare that we have not seen this.

"However, there are many more documented cases of women suffering psychotic episodes due to hormone changes in the natural menstrual cycle when no drugs have been used," Fertility Associates said.

Changes in sex hormones could cause mood changes, but very rarely anything more serious psychologically, the clinic said.

- NZ Herald

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