7 Sep 2012

Top legal aid lawyer in Auckland quits

7:30 pm on 7 September 2012

The Government's top legal aid lawyer in Auckland has quit, while at the centre of two inquiries.

Jonathan Down has been with the Public Defence Service since late 2008.

The service has been expanding to take over a greater share of legal aid cases after a scathing report by Dame Margaret Bazley.

Mr Down's resignation comes as a Law Society standards committee investigates him and the deputy Public Defender in Manukau, Lynn Hughes.

At the same time, Justice Minister Judith Collins has received a complaint accusing Mr Down and some of his colleagues of serious misconduct.

Papers seen by Radio New Zealand show that stems from email correspondence about Tudor Clee, an Auckland defence lawyer.

Mr Down denies his departure has anything to do with either complaint.