Member log in

Greg King found dead

Nov 4: Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson has expressed his condolences after the high profile lawyer Greg King was found dead yesterday.

A highly-placed legal source had indicated to NBR that Mr King took his own life.

His death has been referred to the coroner.

“Although young in years, Greg King had already achieved a huge amount in his career,” Mr Finlayson told NBR.

“He was a lawyer in the finest traditions of the criminal bar, of the same stature as the likes of Mike Bungay, Kevin Ryan and Roy Stacey.

“He was a fine advocate and a very nice guy. His early death is very sad, and my deepest sympathies go to his family at this time."

Law Society head Jonathan Temm said the legal profession was "tremendously saddened" by Mr King's death.

"Throughout his career he represented clients who were often unpopular and he did that with real ability and determination," Mr Temm said.

Nov 3: Police say a man found dead near his car this morning in the Wellington suburb of Newlands was Wellington barrister Greg King, 42.

There were no suspicious circumstances.

Mr King successfully defended Ewen Macdonald in the Scott Guy murder case.

His clients also included Scott Watson, found guilty of murdering Ben Smart and Olivia Hope in 1998, and Clayton Weatherston, found guilty of stabbing Sophie Elliott in her Dunedin home in 2008 and Bruce Howse and John Barlow, both convicted for murder.

Mr King also worked in the media, presenting the TVNZ7 show The Court Report.

He is survived by his wife Catherine Milnes and two daughters.

Police were notified by a member of the public about 10.30am who reportedly discovered Mr King’s body near his vehicle. Police had notified the family and scene examinations were continuing, Detective Inspector Paul Basham of Wellington CIB said in a statement released early Saturday evening.

“Our deepest sympathies are with Greg’s family and friends at this incredibly tragic and difficult time.

“Greg was well known and respected among Police staff, and I know his death will be keenly felt by many people, including those in the wider legal community, which has also suffered a huge loss.”

King family spokesperson, Frances Jones, asked that the family's privacy be respected as they come to terms with the tragic news.

“This is a terrible tragedy for Greg’s family and children, who are devastated by his loss.”

Mr Basham said no-one else was being sought in connection with the death, which had now been referred to the Coroner.

More by Chris Keall

Comments and questions

Gutted. Deepest respect for his work. Thoughts and prayers for his family.

RIP. So tragic and sad!

Pressure on 'The Man'at the top of the crimnal law game would be almost unbearable. How sad! Greg you will be missed!

R I P .... Need more men like this!!!

what a loss, such a interesting and driven man.

Knew Greg at Uni.Great guy and lots of fun.Very Tragic.....was taken too soon.

At its highest level, this job has the most fearful physical and emotional pressures which few can withstand. To survive, some disconnect from their clients...and lose something as a consequence.

what a sad sad loss our hearts go out to his family a shining light is gone.

How very sad, any news on what happenned

RIP Greg King.

Rip legend.

sad day for a great man

A tragic loss. A very clever and interesting man

Greg King, you off sight, but your actions always live forever because you are one of Aotearoa's True Warriors, RIP.

Rest in peace. Deep and sincere sympathy to his family.

The world has lost a wonderful man
The heavens have embraced an angel

Heartfelt condolences to his family. God Bless Greg King.

You were the best any criminal lawyer could aspire to be. Total shock I'm sure to all New Zealanders not to mention your family. But they can stand proud of you. You were an inspiration. May you rest in peace Mr King. God bless

Knowing you has been a privilege. Please now let those who are able to continue his work, following his thoughts which were so clear and direct.

Absolutely shocked and devastated to learn of Greg's passing. What a huge loss for the NZ legal community and the whole of the country. Many a law students and young lawyers idol. Condolences to Greg's family. Rest in peace Greg - The court room has lost one of its greatest.

So sad

Defending criminals exact a price. Mr King had paid the ultimate price.

But he leaves behind an enduring legacy of the need for justice to be properly applied and administrated.


Rest and peace, deep love ,you were the best man in the world.

While a small fraction of lawyers are masters of trial work and another small fraction are masters of appeal work, Greg excelled at both. His legacy is, however, far more noble than that history of excellence. He painstakingly discerned the principles of law and justice to be applied in his cases and put every ounce of his energy and intellect into having such principles adopted by the Courts. His approach was greatly respected and admired by the most senior and able Judges and lawyers in New Zealand. He was a truly great New Zealand man, a man of justice. While this truth will be overshadowed by the deep sense of loss and sadness for his family, it is hoped that it might be of some comfort in the years to come. R.I.P.

Truly a sad sad event . He inspired all. Tragic loss to all of NZ and his family sincere sympahy

He had the guts to spend time with the living victims of the criminals he defended. I doubt any other criminal lawyer would put themselves professionally and emotionally on the line and do this. He was 100 per cent genuine in his dealings with all people. Perhaps he was the tourtured genius who cared too much.

He was an advocate for justice and although he took on some truly difficult crimes, his ability ensured that the justice system was held to account. He was motivated by more than money, he was motivated by a sense of service to society.

proud to have known greg, an incredible person. Such a loss

Talent is precious. Why are we losing our best ?
Definitely a King. RIP Greg.

Greg and I went to school together many many years ago in Turangi, spent alot of time together in our young years, lost contact until few years ago when he was my lawyer for a small case, was neat guy as a very young man and matured into a awesome person, Meet catherine at court and is a lovely lady, major loss for her and girls, and rest of gregs family.My thoughts are with you all. RIP greg.

Condolences to Greg's family and his many friends and colleagues. The profession is reeling from the tragic loss of a great lawyer gone too soon. A sombre reminder to all to look after ourselves and your colleagues.

A deep tragedy for his family and a huge loss for NZ. The legal profession needs to look at debriefing for defence lawyers involved with harrowing cases. The police do it. The medical profession do it. The legal profession cannot afford to lose such brilliant and passionate advocates.
Rest in peace and sincere condolences to Greg King's family.

Unbelievably tragic. Forever why...

NZ has lost a brilliant legal mind but those two young girls will suffer an immeasurable sad.

Deepest sympathies to all his family.

I just lost my partner to the same circumstances, he was 35. My thoughts and condolenses are with the family, only they live in their minds, it is they who make the decision.

I emailed Greg prior to the Scott Guy trial and told him that as good as he was he wouldn't be winning this one...I emailed him again after the verdict and apologized, insisting it was only his defence which claimed the victory. To my surprise, Greg answered and said he appreciated my humbleness and he said things often weren't as they appeared.

How prophetic those words are and will remain for me.

He was a good man. This was a tragedy and should never have happened. So sad. Sincerest condolences to all.

RIP Greg, I respected the work you did tremendously and your legacy remains, hope you are in a better place.

Nevil, Has there ever been a PURE torrent of praise to match this list of near 40 tributes, with nary a sneer or snipe. I cannot recall....even the supposedly great Sir Wilson wasn't spared.
A truly great man, prepared to speak his mind and take on our very wobbly legal system. That legacy MUST endure.
Let's hope that many of these praise-singers, along with the NBR will continue to support his cause/s

Golly, just came back to earth after an extended weekend media holiday.

I regularly watched Greg's TV show. A really (all too rare) insightful & thoughtful analysis.

And always, so cheerful!

The people who are pressing the 'dislike' buttons on these comments really need to have a think about how they have contributed to the world in any meaningful way (being an internet hero does not count). The 'dislike' I found most astounding was the comment that basically says that they knew him from school and thought he was a good bloke. If you disagree with a comment at least take the time out to explain why.

There are no winners from events like this.

Maybe its the families and firends of the victims pressing the dislike button.

Quite likely. If so, they probably do not understand the justice system and the role and responsibilities of litigation lawyers. If the "dislike" people think the system is defective, they should use appropriate ways of expressing such views, but criticising messages of praise for a top lawyer performing well is not such a way. (By the way, there are some defects in the system). Well said, Lazlo.

Its an ethical dilemer that I dont think can ever be properly resolved in an adverserial justice system. Perhaps this is why we are seeing some major countries drifting away from it, and why those countries who hold it up like NZ are seeing some appaling decisions and obvious criminals escape justice to the detriment of the community and victims families.

Its a very tough job getting murders off and knowing that sometimes they probably got off because you were better at your job than the prosecutor. I highlight a serious flaw with the legal system.

Any lawyer who with competence defends those facing criminal charges practices the only law that matters in the end. It is that law that protects the liberty of us all. These lawyers are the only ones that deserve the name. Worth a thousand commercial lawyers any day.

Deepest sympathy goes out to the King's family, and all his work collegues and everyone who he touched. Words cannot be expressed enough, over the sudden lose of a great person - a loving husband - a great father - a loving son - a brother - a son and brother n law and an uncle. He was one of the best lawyers that I had seen in action in the courts, one who will be missed the most. REST IN PEACE GREG, my god be with you always.

Our deepest sympathy to the King Family, Bless Greg such a very clever man,may his memories live on with his little girls, & family.

Sadness and disbelief - I can not believe you have gone I saw you in action when you just a fledging lawyer and you made a huge impression as a lawyer and a man.
You were and indeed are now a shining star. RIP
Deepest condolences to your family.