Following CaseLoad's controversial and commonsense analysis of the David Cullen Bain Compo Affair last time, numerous callers at the Ladies & Escorts Lounge have raised some interesting questions.
Some ask if Mr Bain or his supporter Joe Karam have repaid any of the $3.33 million in taxpayer-funded legal aid coughed up for Mr Bain's 2009 "Not Guilty" retrial - the highest amount in New Zealand legal history. (If they have, good on them.)
And whether or not, in the event Mr Bain gets millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded compensation from the Government, should his legal aid be deducted first???
Read also: $3m Bain legal aid bill sets record
It was earlier reported that of the $3.33 million, $2.33 million went towards the retrial costs and almost $1 million was paid for expenses in the retrial such as research, investigators and forensics.
$426,000 was paid for Mr Karam's efforts.
Lawyers' fees throughout the High Court, Court of Appeal and retrial process amounted to $1.77 million of the total bill.
Most of the costs of the retrial were to pay for overseas experts, according to Mr Bain's lawyer Michael Privet Reed QC.
Mr Bain did not receive legal aid in his compo bid.
Which raises a jolly interesting question in terms of legal aid repayments - namely, should those fortunate to be aided in their defence by the taxpayer be obliged or compelled to do what they can to repay the money???
The Justice Ministry says people who get legal aid may have to repay part or all of their legal aid costs.
Those who can are expected to.
Interest of 8 per cent is charged six months after a case is finalised.
The Ministry says some or all legal aid may have to be repaid, depending on how much a recipient earns, what property they own and whether they have received any money or property as a result of their case. [CaseLoad's emphasis.]
"It's clear to me," said The Scunner. "If Team Bain get any compo then some folk will say they are morally obliged to make a substantial legal aid repayment..."
"There's also no doubt in my mind that the amount of legal aid some taxpayers expect Team Bain to repay is something Justice Minister Amy Adams and Government Purse-String Minder Bill English will have at the forefront of their minds as they ponder this difficult and sensitive question," said Our Man At The Bar, disturbed that the bar tab would not accept his Super Gold Card.
Who are top Kiwi lawyers?
Not so long ago, Chambers & Partners, a London-based firm of legal researchers who rate lawyers worldwide, popped out its Kiwi list of "notable practitioners" in dispute resolution.
They are all Queen's Counsel or new silks.
In the Band 1 top rank are Jim Farmer, Alan Galbraith, David Goddard and Julian Miles;
In Band 2 are Andrew Brown, Colin Carruthers, Miriam Dean, Bruce Gray, Michael Ring, Bruce Stewart and Tom Weston;
John Billington, Paul Davison, Stephen Mills and David Williams made up Band 3, followed by new silks Nathan Gedye and Les Taylor.
Chambers & Partners say they recommend the world's best lawyers in 185 countries and its 150-strong full-time research team personally interview clients all year round.
"Are you sure they haven't missed anyone out???" said Our Man At The Bar, freeing the moths from his rarely-used bar jacket.
A spooky coincidence?
Is Beauen Wallace-Loretz, who was awarded a chocolate fish for merit at Auckland's Bruce McLaren Intermediate School in May 2009, the same Beauen Wallace-Loretz (17), who, with Leonard Nattress-Berquist, is charged with murdering Ihaia Gillman-Harris (54) at an Epsom motel on December 27???
Questions to Ponder
* CaseLoad is being repeatedly told that the standard of Crown prosecutions is dropping - particularly in the district courts - while some defence lawyers are not up to it.
"If this sort of thing carries on both sides will collide in the middle with the result that villains will be free to roam the streets willy-nilly," said A Big Bloke At The Next Leaner.
Evidence of sub-standard slackness in either camp is welcomed.
Their Honours take up pen
Last week's Wikipedia' revelation about "Wellington lawyer Jock Anderson," prompted the following hastily scribbled note to CaseLoad from Their Honours:
"While Our Honours can always make room up the front of the Court for another chap worthy to sit there, we are of the unanimous view that this particular fellow would be more at home on, or under, a park bench..."
"Take him down," said The Scunner.
William Somerville writes
"I am thinking of a significant gap I see between the role of directors under conventional "good governance" theory and their role as seen by judges, particularly when things go wrong.
For example, the board of Heart of the City must inevitably be thinking, at least privately, could they have acted differently to avoid the years of alleged fraud by their chief executive and are they now at any legal risk.
My experience has been that conventional governance theory as earnestly promulgated by professional consultants emphasises delegation, respecting proper roles and not interfering inappropriately.
But I believe this can fall short of the "on notice", "duty to inquire" and "ultimate responsibility" approach the courts take.
The assumption that the role of a trustee is the same as a director is also dubious.
Conventional governance theory is also easily exploited to entrench the power of a chair or chief executive.
Curiously, entrepreneurs, who own their businesses, are probably more aligned to the court's standard being unafraid to dig into any small loose end of inconsistency."
[A retired lawyer still on some boards, Mr Somerville describes himself as living "in the realm of the dilettante, flaneur and other modes of idleness."]
A former Labour hopeful has a view
Upper Hutt lawyer Michael Bott, a regular opiner on all manner of stuff, found CaseLoad's views last week regarding photographer Geoff Walker, whose photos of the Carterton balloon disaster Coroner Peter Ryan released without Mr Walker's permission, refreshing - as did other folk.
Mr Bott, previously an unsuccessful Labour candidate, agrees with CaseLoad that Mr Walker's photos should not have been released.
Allowing publication of Mr Walker's photos without his consent was to deny Mr Walker control over his intellectual property, he says.
His proprietorial rights of ownership and control, agrees Mr Bott, are lost and or ignored, having been supplanted by another that asserts its right over those of Mr Walker.
He says to accept without challenge what happened to Mr Walker may likely create a chilling effect for professionals and may cause others to think twice before co-operating in future - if there is a risk their copyright photos then end up being made public without their consent.
To Murray Reid, of Mangatangi (who has written to the
on this matter):
Your thoughts on whether the Privy Council should have put three commas in its David Bain decision, whether or not the PC ordered a retrial or left it as an option for the New Zealand government and whether or not CaseLoad c*cked the whole thing up last week, will have to wait for another day.