As Clint Rickards stood in the High Court at Auckland yesterday, the venue was familiar but the circumstances could not have been more different.
Last year, while still an assistant police commissioner, he was in the dock pleading his innocence as he faced a second rape case.
Yesterday, he was back in the same courthouse but the only words he uttered were, "I will", as he pledged to uphold the rule of law in New Zealand and to carry himself in a manner befitting a barrister and solicitor of the High Court.
With whanau and friends crowded into the court, Mr Rickards took the oath of affirmation before Justice David Baragwanath as he was admitted to the bar.
Justice Baragwanath said Mr Rickards had the required experience and qualifications, had proven himself a person of good character and was a fit and proper person to become a barrister and solicitor.
Mr Rickards' request for admission prompted public indignation after his acquittal in 2006 and 2007, with former police colleagues Bob Schollum and Brad Shipton, of raping Louise Nicholas and another woman in the 1980s.
Mr Rickards quit as an assistant commissioner last November, ending an internal police disciplinary action against him.
Radio Live talkback hosts Willie Jackson and John Tamihere attended yesterday's hearing, where a waiata and prayer followed the formal proceedings.
A gathering of whanau and friends was planned yesterday afternoon.
While Mr Rickards watched intently, dressed in wig and robes, Justice Baragwanath said he would play a vital role in upholding the rule of law in New Zealand society.
"Every person in our society is entitled to representation by a barrister who is independent and acts in accordance with all fiduciary duties and duties of care by lawyers to their clients," he said. "It may be necessary to stand up for your client when your client is not a popular person."
Justice Baragwanath wished Mr Rickards "every success" in his work with disadvantaged people and Treaty of Waitangi issues.
"Your ... challenge may be summed up to do right to all manner of people ... without fear or favour, affection or ill will, on behalf of the New Zealand community."
The court heard that one of Mr Rickards' children is a lawyer, and another will soon be joining him in the legal profession.
Mr Rickards left court without speaking to the assembled media.