Judge Martin Beattie, whose career was marred by fraud charges relating to travel expenses for which he was acquitted, has died. He was 74.

The district court judge hit the headlines after facing charges related to allegedly false accommodation and travel expense claims made while he worked as a circuit judge for the Dargaville, Kaitaia and Kaikohe district courts.

He pleaded not guilty to 45 fraud charges totalling $10,000 and was acquitted by an Auckland jury in 1997. He was transferred to sit on the Accident Compensation Appeal Authority.

In the high-profile story, a second district court judge, Robert Hesketh, resigned as a circuit judge in Northland after deciding to plead guilty in 1997 to eight fraud charges relating to travel expense claims totalling $815.


In 2002, Associate Justice Minister Margaret Wilson appointed Hesketh director of human rights proceedings in the Human Rights Commission, saying the Government felt it was important that people like Hesketh are allowed to get on with their lives and make a positive contribution to the community.