Thursday, 13 November 2008


The ex-expat has pointed out Clint Rickards' admission to the Bar. If you thought Clint Rickards was one of my least favourite people you'd be right.

My issue is not so much with what he did in the 1980s, although I do think that was awful, unacceptable, and a total abuse of his authority. What concerns me now though is that he is totally and utterly without remorse. He doesn't seem to have accepted that what he did in the 1980s, and his actions more recently in defence of those actions, was wrong.

Rickards seems to be happy to be friends with convicted rapists, and to defend them too. Perhaps in some ways it is appropriate that he's looking to the legal profession for his future career. Like Idiot/Savant, and others who have commented here recently, I really really hope that he is never in a court room cross-examining a woman. I can imagine that he might be used as a threat by some who want to intimidate those they have raped, abused or assaulted: "if you go to the cops I'll get Clint Rickards as my lawyer."

The rape cases associated with ex-police officers Rickards, Shipton and Schollum have probably already had a chilling effect on the reporting of rape. While the Police have done considerable work to encourage complainants, the media coverage and the treatment of Louise Nicholas, and let's not forget the verdicts, would all have discouraged people from coming forward. Even if Rickards never works on a rape case in his legal career, there will still be people put off reporting in part out of fear that they'll have to face him.

What does Rickards hope to achieve by becoming a lawyer? He told the Herald on Sunday:
"With my 25-28 years' experience, I am in a unique position to give back to my people because it's got to stop [he means abuse, violence]."
But does Rickards really get what it means to stop abuse and violence? The first step surely is to recognise that what you've done is wrong - how can he be a role-model in that regard when his notoriety comes from not admitting fault?

Here's hoping he has a hitherto unknown passion for the minutiae of copyright law or maybe real estate transfers. Even then I'd hate to ever have to deal with him, and I suspect many other women would feel the same way.

Oh and by the way, the NZ Law Society's Council has three women on it. And twenty-one men.


Idiot/Savant said...

Oh and by the way, the NZ Law Society's Council has three women on it.

I wonder how they feel about this decision.

Katie said...

One of the things that surprises me about the Law Society decision is that they said that this was 20 years ago and he has since had a "distinguished" career. But that completely ignores that he *had* that career because nothing was ever done about the police culture and his actions at the time. And even worse - he has since had no remorse and even defended convicted rapists.

How does that make a fit and proper lawyer?

I'm disturbed, not only at the decision, but what the president of the law society has said about the decision.

Julie said...

I suspect the Law Society knew that if they declined Rickards' application they'd be in court themselves, and possibly wanted to avoid the embarassment of being sued if they assessed it was likely they'd lose.

I think the whole idea that they should take a "forward looking" approach completely ignores the impact of having Rickards as a practicing lawyer in the future. As I laid out in my post, I believe that he will be used by rapists as a form of intimidation - even if Rickards himself never gets involved with a sexual assault or abuse case that won't stop abusers from telling their victims that they'll hire him to defend them if the police get involved. I wonder if the Law Society considered that at all?