In a tangled dispute between competing Indian radio stations Radio Tarana and 5Tunz Communications - far too complicated to go into here except to say it involved numerous allegations about money - one fundamental cornerstone of the judicial system rose above the legal fug.

In and out of Auckland High Court a few times, it came down to an outstanding issue of costs.

On the one hand was Radio Tarana lawyer Michael Wigley, principal of Wigley and Co.

On the other was Corban Revell managing partner Lawrence Ponniah, appearing for "non-parties" who had not previously been represented.


Now, some folk would regard Messrs Wigley and Ponniah as blokes of considerable standing and international legal experience who would know and mind their Ps and Qs.

Not so in this case, so far as trial judge the redoubtable Justice Ed Wylie (who's been judging since 2008) was concerned.

Here's what His Honour had to say to the pair in his recent costs judgment:

"First, it is disappointing to see that Mr Ponniah, in his memorandum, has variously spelt my name as Riley J and then Wilie J.

Not only is Mr Ponniah inconsistent, but nowhere in his memorandum does he record my name accurately.

This is insulting.

The Court is entitled to expect that the names of judges will be accurately recorded in memoranda.

It reflects little credit on counsel that that has not occurred.


Secondly, I directed that memoranda in relation to costs were not to exceed 10 pages in length.

Mr Wigley's memorandum on behalf of the plaintiff is nine pages in length, but it is typed in a small font, with limited spacing.

I gleaned the distinct impression that Mr Wigley had used a dense format to fit his submissions within the 10 page limit.

That is not appropriate, and it does not comply with the spirit of my direction."

"There's too much of this sort of disrespect going on," said Our Man At The Bar, cravenly polishing the hubcaps on His Honour's German luxury car with a tatty bar jacket.

Bernard Brown's advice

CaseLoad is delighted to accept the invitation of 80-year old living legal legend, poet and raconteur Bernard Brown - associate professor of law at Auckland University - to celebrate the launch of his latest book at Old Government House on November 4.


Illustrated by geothermal scientist and award-winning illustrator Brian Lovelock and titled Fearing the Kynge, the venerable Prof Brown describes his book as a set of thirteen verses for Henry V111 - "unlucky for some."

The book will be launched by former Governor General, Ombudsman and district court judge Sir Anand Satyanand, shortly after the 5 o'clock running of the Melbourne Cup.

Legal tootsies are expected to stampede to what promises to be a jolly event.

Celebrity judge not MIA

Contrary to popular misconceptions Justice Simon Moore has not been slacking.

Just the other day he presided in Whangarei High Court in an appeal against the refusal to grant a bloke electronic bail.

This week he dealt with a couple more similar appeals in Auckland High Court, as well as being duty judge.


Up to October 8, Justice Moore had delivered 30 judgments, mostly district court appeals on a quick turnaround, since being sworn in last March.

"That's a plus," said The Scunner.

Word is there will be no holding His Honour back, come the new year.

Forget me, forget me not

A fashionable fad these days involves famous and not so famous folk attempting to block what bits of their colourful past should not be dredged up by a remorseless, slavering media aided and abetted by Mr Google and his ilk.

In New Zealand there have been desperate bids to develop what legal folk call a tort of privacy - getting enough cases into court to establish a platform for effectively shutting down public access to certain information about folk who don't want others to know it.

Classic among these bids was broadcaster Mike Hosking's failure to convince the High Court a few years back it should prohibit publication of photographs taken in a public place of his little daughters Ruby and Bella.


As CaseLoad recalls, part of Mr Hosking's concern was that he should determine when such photographs should be taken and where they should be published.

When the Hosking case reached the Court of Appeal, Justice Andrew Tipping summarised the privacy argument in part as "the right to have people leave you alone if you do not want some aspect of your personal life to become public property."

Time has moved on and these days all sorts of folk, including royalty, film stars, pop persons and various lesser mortals have gone to the world's courts (with varying degrees of success and failure) to stop publicity they claim is intrusive, unwanted or not helpful to their image, careers or view of themselves.

Some simply want to be let alone and for stuff in their past to be forgotten.

But how does that fit with what is in the public interest - as distinct to being of interest to the public - and with the well-established right to freedom of expression, described by South African-born English law lord Johan Steyn as "the lifeblood of democracy."?

And where does it sit with the "right to be let alone" view advocated by Boston lawyers Louis Brandeis and Samuel Warren in the Harvard Law Review in 1890 - an essay said to have been sparked by an intrusion of journalists on a society wedding and coverage of intimate personal lives in society columns?


Here's something of what Messrs Brandeis and Warren had to say:

"The press is overstepping in every direction the obvious bounds of propriety and of decency.

Gossip is no longer the resource of the idle and of the vicious, but has become a trade, which is pursued with industry as well as effrontery.

To satisfy a prurient taste the details of sexual relations are spread broadcast in the columns of the daily papers.

To occupy the indolent, column upon column is filled with idle gossip, which can only be procured by intrusion upon the domestic circle."

"Delightful," said Our Man At The Bar.


[Lou Brandeis went on to sit on the US Supreme Court. When Sam Warren committed suicide in 1910 his family disguised his suicide and the date of his death.]

The case for both sides was eloquently put the other day at a New Zealand law society continuing professional development (CPD) seminar by intellectual property and privacy specialist Clive Elliott QC and district court judge David Harvey, author of the "The Googling Juror," who teaches law and information technology at Auckland university.

Mr Elliott argued that in a rapidly changing world of instant information there is a right to be forgotten, while Judge Harvey argued that history is history and cannot be changed.

The debate revolved around a celebrated European Court of Justice (ECJ) case which required Google to remove 16-year old references to Spanish businessman Mario Gonzales' financial woes and bankruptcy.

But while the ECJ could get the reference removed from Google it could do nothing about wide coverage of Mr Gonzales's affairs, including a large advertisement, previously published in Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia.

Nor could it do anything about people's institutional knowledge of the past.
CaseLoad, it's fair to say, is in Judge Harvey's camp. "The right to be forgotten will be countered with the ability to be remembered."


As Homer put it, all those years ago:

"Let me not then die ingloriously and without a struggle, but let me first do some great thing that shall be told among men hereafter." Hector -The Iliad Book xxii.

"Two fates bear me on to the day of death. If I hold out here and I lay siege to Troy my journey home is gone, but my glory never dies. If I voyage back to the fatherland I love, my pride, my glory dies." Achilles - The Iliad Book ix.
Footnote: Clean Slate legislation introduced by the Labour government in 2004 allows Kiwis to conceal - but not wipe - their criminal history if they have had a clean record for seven years.

The New Zealand Herald revealed in June how the Clean Slate Act had allowed more than 115,000 criminals to hide convictions including fraud, bestiality and indecent assault from prospective employers.

But if you want a job as a judge, a police officer, or caring for children, your convictions must still be disclosed.

"Fair enough," said The Scunner. "There's already too many dodgy types around the courts."


Most judge complaints?

Complaints against judges have dropped but complaints against Supreme Court judges have doubled and some judges need to do better.

Judicial Conduct Commissioner Sir David Gascoigne - the chap who has the burden of probing complaints against judges - assures CaseLoad Their Honours are not corrupt.

Some complainers think there is clear evidence of corruption at work when a judge disagrees with their own "self-evidently logical contentions."

Sir David says investigations into allegations of judicial corruption had revealed nothing "that even hints at corruption."

He says that overall judges complained about responded "constructively and helpfully."

But a few un-named judges should have been more forthcoming in providing some information about the context of a complaint.


"It does help to have a reasonably explicit balance of views to consider," Sir David, who knows who they are, says.

Most complaints were against judges of the Supreme Court, rising to 67 from 34 in 2012/13.

Complaints against Court of Appeal judges dropped to 21 from 46, and against High Court judges down to 62 from 65.

Complaints against district court and family court judges (53 and 24 respectively) continued to drop.

For the record, 188 complainants complained about 235 judges in the year to July 31, 23 fewer complaints than the previous year.

When unfinalised complaints from the 2012/13 year are included, the total was 314 complaints, compared to 355 in the 2012/13 year, which, of course, took in unfinalised complaints from the 2011/12 year and so on.


No further action was taken on 25 complaints, 184 complaints were dismissed, four were referred to the relevant Heads of Bench, six complaints were withdrawn and none were recommended for further inquiry by a judicial conduct panel.