Assurances have been given in the House of Commons that unidentified blog accusations Justice Dame Lowell Patria Goddard - new head of the controversial multi-million pound British child sex abuse inquiry - was involved in a potential cover-up, are not true.

The wide-reaching inquiry, which will now have statutory powers to dig deep into the entrenched paedophile practices of the British Establishment, including the BBC, has already lost two chiefs - Dame Fiona Woolf (66) and Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss (81) - over claims they were compromised.

Read also: New Zealand judge to lead UK sex abuse inquiry

According to British media reports, Justice Goddard was chosen from 150 possible candidates after officials gave her the all clear over inflammatory claims that she had covered up alleged misconduct by a judge following an extortion case in 1994.

Advertisement

At the time she was deputy solicitor general.

A UK media report said there were also unsubstantiated claims that she had covered up serious complaints while chairman of the independent police conduct authority.

Abuse victims are said to have been comfortable there was no wrongdoing by the judge.

The allegations were raised in the British Parliament by New Zealand-born dentist and Conservative MP for Mole Valley, Sir Paul Beresford (68), who said New Zealand suffers from "tall poppy syndrome."

Describing himself as an ethnic minority immigrant, Sir Paul said that came through at the last election in New Zealand, "when very unpleasant, anonymous accusations were made."

"I suspect that someone with the standing and career of Justice Goddard will have been the subject of such false and probably anonymous accusations."

Sir Paul asked Home Secretary Theresa May if she was aware of any such accusations [against Justice Goddard] and "can she kill them dead now?"

In response, Mrs May told Parliament it became apparent during the due diligence process that there is a blog with an accusation against Justice Goddard relating to a potential cover-up.

Mrs May, who in 2012 was held in contempt of court after completely disregarding a legal agreement to free an Algerian from a UK immigration detention centre, told Parliament she had spoken to Justice Goddard and Attorney General (Chris Finlayson) about the blog accusation "and I have been assured that there is absolutely no truth to the allegation."

Mrs May said she was clear not only that Justice Goddard has the necessary experience in the area, but that her track record shows - in the work she did to look at police conduct in sex abuse matters - "that she is willing to go where the evidence takes her, without fear or favour."

Meanwhile Justice Goddard (66), the divorced ex-wife of a minor, but influential member of the British aristocracy and landowner, Sir Walter John (Johnny) Scott, the fifth baronet of Beauclerc, appears to have taken on what observers say is a regal - almost queenly - persona since the announcement of her new job.

Dame Sylvia Cartwright. Photo / NZME.
Dame Sylvia Cartwright. Photo / NZME.

"In certain lights it's as if Lowell has morphed into her dear chum Justice Dame Silvia Cartwright (71), who, when she was appointed Governor General in 2001, became seriously majestic," a Court insider said. "I swear Silvia's feet did not touch the carpet..."

Lowell Goddard's 1969 marriage to baronet, natural historian, broadcaster, columnist, countryside campaigner and farmer Johnny Scott (66) was short lived, producing a daughter, Rebecca Scott, in 1970.

Johnny became the fifth baronet of Beauclerc, in Northumberland, in 1992. Among his many activities he is patron of the National Association of Beaters and Pickers Up and a board member of the European Squirrel Federation.

He is best known for writing and co-presenting the three-year BBC2 series Clarissa and the Countryman with ex-barrister and celebrity chef the late Clarissa Dickson Wright (the other half of Two Fat Ladies.)

But back to Lowell, who affiliates to Ngati Kahungunu and who in 1992 married fellow lawyer and horseman, judge advocate general of the armed forces and chief judge of the court martial, Chris Hodson QC.

A 1968 photo of a 20-year old Lowell shows a pretty long-haired lass posing while clutching a cuddly Corgi. Photo / Clifton Firth, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries
A 1968 photo of a 20-year old Lowell shows a pretty long-haired lass posing while clutching a cuddly Corgi. Photo / Clifton Firth, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries

The longest serving High Court judge (19 years) and a key figure in the Wellington-centric female judicial/legal elite, Justice Goddard - who played second fiddle at Silvia Cartwright's 1987/88 cervical screening inquiry - was tipped to have her eye on becoming Governor General, just like Dame Silvia, an ex Otago Girls High School pupil.

That came to nothing. But the lady's new job should provide a steady income for the next four years until she reaches the judicial retirement age of 70.

Observations around the Ladies & Escorts Lounge regarding Justice Goddard's legal acumen are best left to barroom gossips.

Footnote 1: British journalists have drawn parallels between Home Secretary Theresa May's shift to designer apparel and her political rise in fortunes since her parliamentary debut, which has prompted some insiders here to suggest she will be impressed by Justice Goddard's impeccable dress and makeup priorities.

Footnote 2: During media coverage of the UK parliamentary expenses scandal - which broke in 2009 - it was revealed that Sir Paul Beresford designated his west London property (which includes his dental surgery) as his second home, allowing him to claim allowances of three-quarters of the running costs of the property from the taxpayer.

Sir Paul pioneered the practice of hiring contractors to do jobs previously done by council workers and was knighted in 1990 for services to inner city rehabilitation.

Footnote 3: One of a number of High Court judges and Queen's Counsel - including her chum Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias - who follow the geegees, Justice Goddard was pleased when La Adelita won at Rotorua on December 29, earning $11,750 for her and fellow owners, Pencarrow Thoroughbreds and race broadcasting pioneer Karyn Fenton-Ellis.

Footnote 4: La Adelita is one of the most famous folk songs of the Mexican revolution. It is argued Adelita came to be an archetype of a woman warrior and a symbol of action and inspiration.

Footnote 5: When, in a previous incarnation, CaseLoad asked Justice Goddard in 2010, while she was head of the independent police conduct authority, who paid the travel to and from Wellington and accommodation for her new Nelson-based spin doctor Kathryn Street - girlfriend of lesbian Labour MP Maryan Street - her brief response was "we[the IPCA] don't pay."

The email sent on Justice Goddard's behalf by her corporate services manager was signed off politely with "kind regards."

An email in which the judge thanked her manager for the statement also found its way to CaseLoad.

"Very good - apart from the 'kind regards' at the end," wrote Her Honour.

CaseLoad wishes Her Honour well...

A judge waxes philosophical

"Well CaseLoad, today was a stultifyingly boring sitting at one of our outlying courthouses (location withheld.)

We dealt with a couple of routine applications (which are of course important to the applicants) and moved on, after a good 20 minutes' coffee time, to a trial.

That was the plan, anyway.

The Crown was not sure how far the case had got and the court office was not too sure either.

We hung around, as one does, and went to lunch.

My day then brightened up because I was accompanied to the outlying courthouse by one of my favourite briefs (name withheld), a charming and amusing lass who spotted the fact the (location withheld) traffic had prevented me from buying a pre-packed sandwich en route.

Bless her, CaseLoad, she bought me a (brand name withheld) mince and tattie pie and, as ever, refused to take a cent for it.

Back to the court. The prosecutor (name withheld) had a soft and even-toned voice that would lull anyone to sleep (in fact the court taker (name withheld) did nod off).

So we followed first principles and acquitted the defendant, following our guidelines to the letter.

Good show, we can have another go next week.

Now, be a good chap and slide the jug over..."

"I know who this fellow is and where he's been," said Our Man At The Bar, scribbling an IOU on the back of a crumpled TAB ticket.

"Barefaced plagiarist," said The Scunner.

Point to ponder

Might the 2009 second-trial jury that found insufficient evidence against David Cullen Bain to find him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the murder of his family have considered that one guilty verdict and 13 and a half years in jail was enough???

Mark Lundy in the dock on day three of his retrial. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Mark Lundy in the dock on day three of his retrial. Photo / Mark Mitchell

And might not Mark Lundy's second-trial jury come to a similar view?

Judges warned to take care

A recent globally-shared rumpy pumpy escapade in a well lit Christchurch insurance office is a timely reminder to Their Honours to keep the blinds shut in the Judges' Common Room, which is within cell phone camera range of the Ladies & Escorts Lounge...