Former judge takes on advocacy role

  • Margaret Wilson

Associate Minister of Justice Hon Margaret Wilson today announced the appointment of Robert Hesketh as the Director, Human Rights Proceedings.

As Director, Mr Hesketh will head the Office of Human Rights Proceedings within the Human Rights Commission. The Office and the Director are responsible for ensuring complainants taking cases under the Human Rights Act are adequately represented.

Margaret Wilson said Mr Hesketh has the appropriate experience and skills for this advocacy position.

“He has 20 years experience in the criminal justice system. He is a LEADR accredited mediator and has been guest instructor for LEADR at courses. He was a Tenancy Adjudicator for eight years and has been active in a number of community organisations such as Citizens Advice Bureaux and Lifeline.”

Margaret Wilson acknowledged Mr Hesketh had been guilty of an error of judgement while a District Court Judge, but said even in his troubles he had acted with integrity.

“He was honest in the way he went about dealing with both the criminal and disciplinary charges which resulted,” she said.

“The government feels it is important people like Mr Hesketh are allowed to get on with their lives and make their positive contribution to the community.”

Mr Hesketh will take up his appointment on June 1.

Former Northland District Court judge Robert Hesketh resigned from his job after deciding to plead guilty in January 1997 to fraudulently claiming $815 in travel expenses. He was fined $8000 in the Auckland District Court and struck off the roll of barristers and solicitors the following September. Robert Hesketh’s colleague, Judge Martin Beattie, denied 45 fraud charges involving travel expenses totalling $10,000 and was acquitted.

The Law Practitioners’ Disciplinary Tribunal unconditionally re-admitted Mr Hesketh to the roll of barristers and solicitors in May 1999 noting he was a person of “real integrity, probity and trustworthiness”.