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Justice Bill Wilson - how it all began

In 2007, Justice Bill Wilson was on the Court of Appeal bench that overturned a 2005 High Court decision, which saw superfine wool producer Saxmere win against the Wool Board Disestablishment Company (Disco).The High Court found unlawful conduct by the Wo

Liam Baldwin
Tue, 28 Sep 2010

In 2007, Justice Bill Wilson was on the Court of Appeal bench that overturned a 2005 High Court decision, which saw superfine wool producer Saxmere win against the Wool Board Disestablishment Company (Disco).

The High Court found unlawful conduct by the Wool Board, negligence and breach of statutory duty.

Disco lawyer Alan Galbraith QC and Justice Wilson were the co-owners of Rich Hill Ltd, a company that owned land near Matamata occupied by Rich Hill Thoroughbreds, a horse stud also part-owned by Mr Galbraith.

Chief Justice Sian Elias and her husband Hugh Fletcher were also involved in racehorse ownership with the pair.

After an initial attempt suggesting possible bias over the Court of Appeal decision failed at the Supreme Court July, 2009, the Saxmere camp made an application for it to recall its earlier decision.

New evidence was presented, which led to the Supreme Court finding Justice Wilson was financially indebted to Mr Galbraith, partly due to the murkiness of the business finances.

The Supreme Court ordered a rehearing at the Court of Appeal, which happened in late June.

Its decision was reserved and remains pending.

Following the Supreme Court decision last year, complaints were lodged with the Judicial Conduct Commissioner by Saxmere and others, including retired judge Sir Ted Thomas, over Justice Wilson’s failure to fully disclose his relationship with Mr Galbraith and his subsequent conduct, which involved the Supreme Court essentially prising financial information out of him.

The JCC has recommended an independent Judicial Conduct Panel be created to further investigate Justice Wilson’s conduct.

Justice Wilson has requested a judicial review to consider the legality of the JCC’s decision to recommend the panel.

Liam Baldwin
Tue, 28 Sep 2010
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Justice Bill Wilson - how it all began
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