11 Jun 2015

Māori lawyer praises Sir Peter Williams QC

7:53 am on 11 June 2015

A Māori lawyer is paying tribute to legal defender, Sir Peter Williams QC, who died in Auckland, aged 80.

Heeni Phillips and Peter Williams at home.

Heeni Phillips and Peter Williams at home. Photo: Sara Orme Photography

Sir Peter was renowned for his efforts to improve the lives of tāngata whenua and create better conditions for them in the justice system.

He also won the right for an all-Māori jury in a murder trial.

Senior Māori lawyer Annette Sykes said Sir Peter Williams did a lot for Māori in prison.

"He devoted his life to the poor and dispossessed and because Maori were a significant proportion of those that the criminal justice impacted upon, it wasn't unusual that Peter Williams QC was the first to champion many of them that were finding the system both foreign and difficult to navigate."

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