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Concerns about Judicial Behaviour (updated)

Peter Zohrab 2018

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(Open Letter to the Chief Justice)


Dear Dame Sian Elias,

In relation to judicial behaviour, you have been quoted (at https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/102562165/chief-justice-dame-sian-elias-rebukes-judges-after-revelations-of-widespread-bullying) as saying. "If proper standards are not observed I encourage those who are affected or who have observed such behaviour to raise their concerns with ... with me...."

Although not a lawyer, I have a Law degree and have been affected by such behaviour when acting in a quasi-legal capacity, so I bring these matters to your attention. It is important to emphasise that two of the three perpetrators were women and one was a man, because the New Zealand media and justice and political systems are rife with the predetermination that women are victims and men are perpetrators.

  1. In 2005, while doing my Professionals through the online College of Law, I had to observe an actual court case, so I did that at the Wellington High Court and (after bypassing the resistance of a female court official) I managed to get permission from the Justice, get into a courtroom and sit at the back (of course). The presiding Justice was a White female, whose name I have forgotten, and with her was a Maori woman, who appeared to be her Registrar. I am a high-profile person and many women seem to treat high-profile men as sex objects, which was presumably the reason why these two women appeared to look at me, smile and talk to each other about me. After I left the courtroom, the Maori woman turned up near me and seemed to want to get to know me personally. I made no overtures. There was no physical contact or inappropriate language. However, I do not think that those two women should have used their positions to behave in that way.

  2. In 2014, I represented myself at the Court of Appeal. The reference is [2015] NZCA 17 CA630/2014. The Justices were Wild, MacKenzie and Lang JJ. Before the hearing, a female official came and did something at the workspace of the Justice who would be right in front of me (i.e. on the left, from my perspective). Then she made a loud, rude noise, as if intending to convey some message by doing that. For some minutes before the hearing, I could see these three male Justices in the "wings" -- just off-stage -- and the one who would be sitting in front of me (not Justice Wild, who I seem to remember as being a student politician during my early student days at Victoria University of Wellington) kept ogling me and doing things with his mouth, in a very good impression of being sexually attracted to me. During the hearing, Justice Wild lost his temper with me because of one particular point that I had made, which he disagreed with, but he did not say or do anything otherwise inappropriate. I think I had learnt at Law School that counsel just have to put up with such behaviour in Judges, so I did not react negatively in any way. A possibly relevant factor is that the case involved a totally fabricated allegation of disorderly behaviour and assault, for which I had been convicted, and it is conceivable that the behaviour of the Justices at that hearing constituted some kind of test of my behaviour under pressure.

I do not request any action as a result of this communication to you, which is sent purely for the purpose of informing you and anyone else who reads it.


Yours sincerely,

Peter Zohrab


I soon received the following emailed acknowledgement:


Dear Mr Zohrab, I refer to your e-mail of 2 April 2018 to the courtsofnz website. This e-mail has been brought to the attention of the Chief Justice.

Kieron McCarron


Kieron McCarron

Chief Advisor Legal and Policy

Office of the Chief Justice

Phone: +64 4 4963977 | Extn: 68077 | Mob: +64 021 688740




-- Summary Haiku:

Men have no rights,
but aren't less human.
We blame sexism.




Peter Douglas Zohrab

Latest Update

7 April 2018