A St John's College board of trustees member who led the decision to suspend student Lucan Battison is refusing to comment following the discovery of a photo of him as a long-haired student of Lucan's age - while attending the same school.

Byron Fergus, a former pupil of St John's College, is pictured above in a 1988 photograph of the school's senior basketball team.

Mr Fergus was a 6th former when the picture was taken, the equivalent of Lucan's current Year 12.

The photo suggests he was sporting long locks at the time.


The school old boy was the chairman of the St John's College disciplinary committee, which decided to proceed with Lucan's suspension after he refused to cut his hair to the school's requirements.

The formerly hirsute Mr Fergus, who is a current St John's College board of trustees member, refused to comment on the photograph.

Another former St John's student, now serving as a District Court judge in Auckland, doesn't recall hair length ever being an issue when he was at the Hastings school in the early 1970s.

Judge Russell Collins, who was at the college from 1970 to 1974 and a captain of the rugby 1st XV, told Hawke's Bay Today last night: "I think in those days it was more about sideburns. I have no recollection of hair [length] being an issue."

In yesterday's decision, Justice David Collins said it had not been possible to determine when the hair rule was first adopted by the school, but there was photographic evidence that in the "mid-1970s" there was either no rule or one which wasn't enforced.

"The photographs show many boys with hair considerably longer than Lucan's," the High Court judge said. "A number of students in these photographs have become successful members of society, including one who has recently been appointed a District Court Judge."