David Bain supporter Joe Karam was awarded $64,774 costs, plus $11,350 disbursements, the other day in the wrap-up of his successful defamation action against Kent Parker and Vic Purkiss.
Online comments by Messrs Parker and Purkiss accused Mr Karam of "Karamalisation" and being dishonest in his motivations for helping Mr Bain after he was cleared in 2009 of murdering five family members.
Justice Patricia Courtney awarded Mr Karam $535,000 damages in April, for what the former All Black claimed was a public campaign against his integrity and an all-out assault on his reputation.
Mr Purkiss left the country and Mr Parker is bankrupt, so observers say it is doubtful Mr Karam will see the money.
• Followers of the Bain Saga will recall how a year ago Legal Services Commissioner Nigel Fyfe confirmed that, in what were described as "exceptional" and "unique circumstances," $424,480 was paid for Mr Karam's services in the defence of Mr Bain.
Mr Karam was deemed to be the "equivalent to a non-qualified legal executive..."
It is believed to be the only time such legal aid payments have been made, although government officials would not confirm this at the time.
When Judges Tighten The Screws
Evidence continues to emerge of judges keen to whip the news media into line.
Recent examples include Chief High Court judge Helen Winkelmann's curious ruling - urged on by Kim Dotcom lawyers Paul Davison QC and Willie Akel, among others - that New Zealand Herald journalist David Fisher was not a journalist when he wrote a book about Mr Dotcom - and therefore could not legally protect his sources.
Equally interesting was Justice John Fogarty's decision to grant Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater an injunction stopping stopping the unidentified hacker from leaking to the media any further material hacked from Mr Slater's computer.
Media organisations agreed not to use any material of a strictly personal or medical nature.
Last week, meanwhile, Justice Raynor Asher ruled that the Whale Oil blog was a news medium and Mr Slater was a journalist when, in 2012, he wrote allegedly defamatory posts about Auckland businessman Matthew Blomfield.
Mr Slater thought the High Court should protect him under the Evidence Act from having to reveal his sources in the defamation case.
In a keenly-awaited decision, Justice Asher had a bob each way, also ruling that Mr Slater could not get source protection because there was a greater public interest in the disclosure of his informants.
Justice Asher - who was assisted in his deliberations by renowned media lawyer Julian Miles QC - also reckoned that documents disclosed to Mr Slater appeared to have been obtained illegitimately.
The judge ruled the public interest in disclosure outweighed any adverse effects on the information and the ability of the media to freely receive information and access sources - a ruling that has some in the media in a tizz.
[Former Auckland district law society president Raynor Asher was the cove who, a few years ago, stood at the door and barred CaseLoad from attending a top-level lawyers' discussion on the pros and cons of retaining the Privy Council as New Zealand's final appellate body.
Despite some Queen's Counsel and other senior lawyers having no objection, and CaseLoad's assertion it was a matter of high public interest, Mr Asher ruled that CaseLoad's presence would stifle open and frank debate.]
Then, only last weekend, Justice David Gendall granted New Zealand cricket captain Brendan McCullum an interim ex parte injunction stopping the Sunday Star Times publishing a story the paper said "could play out in Chris Cairns' perjury case in London."
Mr Cairns is to be charged with perjury in relation to his successful 2011 case where he won damages against Indian cricket administrator Lalit Modi over allegations of match-fixing.
The Sunday Star Times says it was not given an opportunity to appear and argue its case at the injunction hearing, but that Justice Gendall had said the paper could apply to have the injunction lifted this week.
All of which begs the question: Are Editors or Judges running the nation's newsrooms???
In the Ladies & Escorts Lounge they say those who wade with sharks should not expect others to pay their bar bill...
Watch this space...
Outstanding Bloke Not Appointed
CaseLoad will have to wait for another time to be considered for appointment as a Community Magistrate.
Gavin Duffy, of the Judicial Appointments Unit, says a panel established by Secretary for Justice Andrew Bridgman and chief district court judge Jan Marie Doogue to assess applicants has completed its short list.
"Unfortunately you have not been successful on this occasion," says Gavin, in an email beginning Good morning. No name - just Good morning.
"The panel has noted that the calibre of applicants has been extremely high."
"You clearly went b*llocks up at the Fit and Proper hurdle," said Our Man At The Bar, demanding return of his "fix-it" investment.
Meredith Connell Settles Employment Troubles
Details have not been disclosed but word in the Ladies & Escorts Lounge is that most of the 11 or so non-lawyer staff laid off by Auckland Crown solicitors' Meredith Connell have reached satisfactory settlements.
Claims alleging "sham redundancy" were first filed with the Employment Relations
Authority by employment lawyer Mark Ryan, of Vulcan Chambers, in April 2013.
Judge Roy Wade Calls A Spade A Spade
On Friday, August 29 - the day after he was arrested - Scott Robin Stills appeared in the North Shore district court with an application for bail, put to the court by public defence service lawyer Johann Schlebusch.
Here's what Judge Roy Wade said, with Mr Still's words recorded in brackets:
"Scott Stills appears before the Court charged with an offence of attempted burglary and possession of burglary tools, allegedly committed in the centre of Takapuna at 3 o'clock in the morning of 28 August 2014."
"He seeks bail consequent upon his arrest."
"It has been immediately and properly conceded that the provisions of 12(1)(b) Bail Act 2000 apply to Mr Stills for these reasons, he has the most appalling criminal history I have ever, ever seen."
"He has 285 convictions which take 28 pages to set out."
"He has committed 171 offences whilst on bail and he has served 141 prison sentences."
"When he has been granted bail, he shows his utter contempt for that bail by failing to attend Court or no fewer than 26 occasions."
"He has breached prison release conditions seven times."
"Under the provisions of the Bail Act, defendants such as Mr Stills have the onus of satisfying the Court that bail should be granted and that they will not commit any offence, either of violence or of burglary, whilst on bail."
"This man's criminal history shows quite the opposite."
"He has 17 convictions for burglary alone."
"He has two offences for robbery, offences for serious violence and, furthermore, his very last conviction was for unlawfully possessing firearms, which he was sent to prison for as recently as 8 October."
"No way in the world is Mr Stills going to get bail from me."
[F*** you, c***, f*** you]
"Thank you, go away, thank you."
"Thank you so much."
[F***, if I could get you, I'd punch your f****** face in, c***]
"Yes, thank you, I will get those remarks typed up."
"Right, remand in custody as I say then until 18 September 2014."
"I was going to add just to save Mr Schlebusch the effort that no way in the world would I grant him electronically monitored bail either."
Good News As Legal Aid Bill Continues To Drop
Further to CaseLoad's exclusive disclosure of which lawyers got the most from the latest taxpayer-funded legal aid payments, additional information from the Justice Ministry shows annual gross payments to law firms fell by 4.4% to June 30.
Payments in the 2013/14 year totalled $124.58 million, down from $130.259 million in 2012/13, which was down 12.2% from $148.307 million in 2011/2012.
Ministry data shows 1,240 separately listed law firms or barristers who received payments, with an average gross payment of $100,467. The median payment was $63,064.
Gisborne received the highest average payment per firm, with $239,454, followed by Whakatane ($191,324) and Rotorua ($184,896) - all well above the national average payment. Source: New Zealand Law Society.
Judge Backs Sex Offender's Neat Writing
High Court Justice John Fogarty has allowed one of New Zealand's most difficult prisoners, Nicholas Paul Alfred Reekie (43) - who is serving a minimum of 25 years preventive detention for a string of violent sexual offences - to put pen to paper.
Justice Fogarty gave Mr Reekie - well known for filing complaints about something almost every day from prison - permission to file a hand-written statement of claim seeking a judicial review of a decision of district court judge Gary Harrison.
A High Court registrar refused to file Mr Reekie's documents and returned them because they were not typed.
Justice Fogarty acknowledged Mr Reekie had no access to computers in prison, but said his documents were written neatly and legibly, they could be photocopied or scanned and he was free to continue hand-writing them.
Some say acting Justice minister, Attorney-General, Culture, Heritage and Treaty minister Chris Finlayson has a full deck and won't be up to it, so if the National government is returned, who will be next Justice minister???