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Judge Martin Beattie
Judge Martin Beattie, 52, walked free following a three week trial in the Auckland High Court, where he had defended 45 fraudulent expense claim charges.
The charges related to allegedly false accommodation and travel expense claims made while he worked as a circuit judge for the Dargaville, Kaitaia and Kaikohe district courts. The court was told staff involved in processing claims noticed abnormalities and a witness had done some checking and found Beatie had claimed hotel stay expenses when he had actually gone home. The charges involved over $10,000 worth of expenses which Beattie has since repaid. Beattie was defended by Paul Davidson, QC who put the case that Beattie believed he was entitled to the expenses as part of his employment and that he had never been advised this was not so. After 15 hours, the jury accepted Beattie’s defence and found him not guilty.

In spite of the acquittals, the case has continued to have a high profile. The Minister of Justice Doug Graham asked Beattie to resign after finding he had no power to dismiss him, because an acquittal equated to innocence and did not constutute ‘gross misconduct’ for which he could be sacked. A great deal of media editorial material was of the view he should not continue to practice as a judge. Auckland solicitor David Schnauer recently collected enough fellow solicitors’ signatures to force the Auckland District Law Society to hold a confidence vote in Judge Beattie. The majority said they had no confidence in him - a moral expression without power to censure.

Beattie has refused to resign and has kept out of the public debate. He now sits in judgement on disputes arising under the Accident Rehabilitation Compensation Insurance Act 1992.



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Judge Martin Beattie, 52, walked free following a three weeks trial in the Auckland High Court, where he had defended 45 fraudulent expense claim charges.

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