Auckland Public Defender Jonathan Down quit in a shock move this week.
Mr Down, who was appointed to the senior legal role in early 2010, confirmed to NBR ONLINE he would “step down at the end of the year”.
He says he told PDS staff of his move last Friday.
Mr Down quit at a time a Justice Ministry investigation is said to be under way into the source and content of emails involving at least one Auckland legal aid lawyer, Tudor Clee.
He told NBR ONLINE his resignation and a Law Society complaint against Mr Clee - dismissed in July - are "totally unrelated, unconnected and irrelevant."
Mr Clee declined to comment but he and Mr Down clashed publicly last year over government moves to expand the PDS and use fewer contracted lawyers in legal aid cases.
The emails are understood to have resulted in a complaint to the Law Society over what one legal source claimed was a faked smear campaign against Mr Clee.
Mr Down says his resignation has nothing to do with Mr Clee.
He said a law society complaint involving Mr Clee was still “current” and he “won’t be able to talk about it”.
Minister of Justice Judith Collins' private secretary Emma Kelly said: "It would not be appropriate for the minister to comment on employment issues. All employment issues are for the chief executive."
The Public Defence Service, which has had a turbulent beginning, was set up with the intention of saving on the burgeoning annual legal aid bill – now standing at more than $172 million.
This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about MyNBR Tags
Most listened to
- “A very ballsy thing to do” – Rodney Hide and Kelvin Davis discuss Serco’s response to Correction’s Mt Eden Prison report
- “The response from shareholders has been overwhelming” — A2 Corporation chief executive Geoff Babidge
- Greg Gent says a board of 13 people is "prehistoric"
- Arvida CEO Bill McDonald on his company's half-year net profit
- Lance Wiggs on the future of food exports
- Auckland Councillor Chris Darby on the Council's alternative funding report
- Nevil Gibson discusses his latest Editor's Insight on oil prices
- Campbell Gibson, Nick Grant and Chelsea Armitage chat about the inner workings of New Zealand media
- Paul Brislen discusses the 'snake oil' sales tactics of SalesConcepts
- Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings reveals his ambitious China plan
- UDC Finance chief executive Wayne Percival talks about the company's profit
- Hamish McNicol discusses the latest court stories