Ave atque vale, Greg

Apparently Greg King has passed away. Kua hinga te tōtara i Te Waonui a Tāne.

I only met Greg King a couple of times when I appeared TVNZ 7's "The Court Report", which he hosted. Following the show's taping, we repaired to the Bank Bencher for a few drinks and a chat. On both occasions he proved a good guy - interesting to talk to and refreshingly without an arrogantly overinflated sense of his own importance. I liked him.

Aside from those personal meetings, every time I read or heard his voice in the media he was saying something sensible. Greg was someone who mixed his legal duty to offer his clients the best defence available with a genuine recognition of the hurt faced by the victims of crime. As I know many people have said (and will say in the coming days), he absolutely was the guy you'd want representing you if you had the ill-fortune to come before the courts for any reason. But at the same time, he also was prepared to call for changes to our laws when he saw they were wrongly balancing the rights of the accused with the need for community safety. He was an advocate for individual defendants, but not an unthinking advocate for defendants in all situations. 

In short, Greg King was someone who offered a lot to New Zealand's criminal justice system on many levels. We're going to miss him.