A New Zealand defence lawyer with a "colourful life", including being struck off because of his links to the Mr Asia drug ring and then charged with money laundering soon after being reinstated, has died.

Edward Poulter Leary, more commonly known as Eb Leary, died on Sunday of cancer at the age of 71, his wife Claudine confirmed.

The former counsel to Mr Asia drug syndicate kingpin Terry Clark, Mr Leary was struck off in 1987 for introducing the ring leader to another client who then began drug dealing with Clark.

Mr Leary also failed to comply with auditing regulations and also tried to deceive the Inland Revenue Department and the drug trafficking commission.


After being struck off, he and a business partner set up a processing and exporting plant in Auckland, selling and exporting salmon.

At the time, his first wife Geraldine won $830,000 in Lotto, and the couple bought Kingfish Lodge in the Far North, which they developed into an exclusive game fishing resort. They lived in the Whangaroa Harbour for nearly 10 years.

Geraldine died of cancer in 2006.

In 2007, 20 years after being struck off, Mr Leary was granted High Court permission to practise law again.

About 81 people were prepared to provide testimonials in support of Mr Leary's readmission.

However a year later, he was charged with money laundering with his second wife Claudine and associate Nicholas Henri Voerman.

The charge against the lawyer was thrown out after bugged conversations between his wife and Voerman referring to Mr Leary were ruled as inadmissible hearsay evidence.

A celebration of Eb's life will be held at St Mary's-in-Holy Trinity at 446 Parnell Rd, Parnell, Auckland on Friday February 12 at 2pm.