Lawyer Michele Wilkinson-Smith has been appointed crown prosecutor for Whanganui, Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson has announced.

She takes over from Lance Rowe, who was made a judge of the District Court in April.

Mrs Wilkinson-Smith was involved in a number of high profile cases, including defending Chris Kahui, who was acquitted of murder following a High Court trial over the deaths in June 2006 of his 3-month-old twin sons, Chris and Cru. She was co-counsel with Lorraine Smith.

She lives in Auckland with lawyer husband Chris who grew up in Whanganui. The couple moved to the city in 2011 before work drew them back to Auckland. They are understood to be looking for legal offices ahead of next month when she is scheduled to begin her new role.

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Mrs Wilkinson-Smith has 12 years' experience as a Crown prosecutor and 11 years as a criminal defence barrister and is a member of the Crown Prosecution Panel in Palmerston North.

A Crown prosecutor is a lawyer appointed to prosecute indictable offences on behalf of the Crown.