26 Oct 2010

Request for debate on judge's resignation denied

5:02 pm on 26 October 2010

Parliament's Speaker has turned down a request that MPs be able to debate the resignation of a Supreme Court judge.

Justice Bill Wilson, who has been under investigation for alleged misconduct relating to conflicts of interest, is to step down from the bench on 5 November.

He will receive nearly $1 million from the Crown, including a year's salary and payment for his legal costs.

In Parliament on Tuesday, the Speaker Lockwood Smith denied a request from the Labour Party for an urgent debate, saying Justice Wilson remains a Supreme Court judge until his resignation takes effect.

Dr Smith told Parliament he was also concerned an urgent debate would threaten the proper relationship between the House and the judiciary.

Labour MPs said the opposition should be allowed to criticise the Government's handling of the matter in a debate.