David Bates takes a break from his laptop where he's working to defend a teenager on an assault charge, to read from a children's picture book.

He crosses his legs, readjusts his reading glasses, and his usually soft voice raises in pitch:
"Maestro McNibble, most mischievous mouse, lived next door to the cheesemaker's house. Old cheesemaker Charlie lived there with his cat who was big and mean, and was named Rat-a-tat ..."

The words flow easily because he's reading his own writing. When he's not in court or working from his stylish Tauriko home with rural views, he's forging

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