Judge David Harvey, now in his early 50s, was made a district court judge at Auckland in October 1988.

A former international mastermind champion, he won the Television New Zealand Mastermind contest in 1980 and the international title in 1981, answering questions on his specialty subject of J R R Tolkien's book The Lord of the Rings.

For the 15 years before he became a judge he was involved in family law practice and was counsel for children in family court cases from the Henderson, Auckland, North Shore, Otahuhu and Pukekohe courts.

He had been a partner with Earl Kent and Company in Auckland since 1982.

He was at school with former National Party leader Jim McLay and a legal colleague of New Zealand First leader Winston Peters.

Three years ago Judge Harvey made headlines when he suggested battered wives should be forced to give evidence against their husbands.

Stressing that they were his personal views, he said the law as it stood allowed wife-beaters to escape justice.