The Scott Watson Case, Kristy McDonald QC and yet another serious conflict of interest

One of our readers emailed us with some very interesting information that has a bearing on a story we intend posting later this year. As a result we then stumbled across a letter that express’s some very real and serious concerns with respect to Kristy McDonald QC’s involvement in the Scott Watson case.

Raymond Donnelly and Co: Kristy McDonald QC

It seems that we are not the only group of Australasian citizens concerned with the behaviour of Ms Kristy McDonald QC. It’s now become evident that McDonald was indeed employed by none other than Christchurch crown solicitors Raymond Donnelly and Co in the 1980’s and remained with that firm until she was appointed Crown Counsel at the Crown Law Office in Wellington.

This is of course very interesting and at the same time concerning, as whilst she was working for Raymond Donnelly and Co she would have had a very close relationship with fellow employee Brent Stanaway who had joined the firm around the same time, and the local police force headed up by none other than the then District Commander John Jamieson; who presided over a very corrupt police district. The unearthing of these hidden relationships and connections are of immense interest to us in a number of ongoing investigations.

As the letter (below) points out Kristy McDonald also went on to represent the police during a Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct in 2007 and would therefore have been working alongside corrupt cop Jonathan Moss, the man who headed up the police professional standards unit, then later surreptitiously employed by the REAA a statutory body that McDonald headed up.

It seems to us that New Zealand has highly inappropriate happenings in and around its judicial system. It also turns out that Kristy McDonald is involved in the New Zealand Law Society’s Ethics Committee, as is Brent Stanaway who sits on the disciplinary tribunal, most recently presiding over the case of disgraced lawyer Barry Hart.

The integrity of Stanaway was challenged in both the Gwaze case and in the case of Dewar so it may just be par for the course that anyone who spent time working for Raymond Donnelly and Co is somewhat prone to corrupt practice:

Raymond Donnelly and Co: Brent Stanaway

A letter sent to Minister of Justice Judith Collins today (2.8.12)
Hon Judith Collins
Minister of Justice
Freepost Parliament
Private Bag 18 888
Parliament Buildings
Wellington 6160

Dear Minister

Re: Kristy McDonald QC s role in assisting the Ministry of Justice with Scott Watson s application for mercy

I am writing to express my concerns about Kristy McDonald QC in relation to her supporting the Ministry of Justice with Scott Watson s application of the exercise of the Royal prerogative of mercy, given Ms McDonald s longstanding professional connections to the Police and Crown.

In a letter I received from former Minister of Justice Simon Power (11.08.09), Mr. Power notes, I do not accept that Ms McDonald s background compromises her independence & [Her] integrity is not in question. Therefore, I am satisfied that Ms McDonald s appointment to assist with Mr. Watson s application is appropriate.

In a letter received from the Ministry of Justice Chief Legal Counsel Jeff Orr (08.02.10), Mr. Orr notes, Ms McDonald is an independent and experienced Queen s Counsel.

What follows in italics [blue] is an excerpt from a recent Police media release entitled A different Rhode to success – recruits graduate Thursday (New Zealand Police, 25 July 2012). The content of this extract reinforces my and others misgivings about Ms McDonald s appointment, and highlights the disingenuousness of Messrs Power and Orr s reassurances: 

Wing Patron: Kristy McDonald QC

Kristy McDonald QC is a barrister with extensive experience in criminal, civil, and public and constitutional law. Kristy has extensive experience as a court lawyer. She has provided advice and representation for the Crown and for private clients in a wide range of criminal, civil and administrative matters over more than 30 years in practice. 

Kristy began her career as a Crown prosecutor in Christchurch in 1980, was later appointed a Crown Counsel at the Crown Law Office in Wellington, and moved to practice as an independent barrister in 1989. She was made a Queen s Counsel in 1999. Kristy is a member of the Crown prosecution panel in Wellington and the Serious Fraud Office prosecution panel. She has prosecuted a number of significant criminal trials and has acted for the Police in a wide range of civil matters including representing Police in the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct in 2007

Given Ms McDonald’s background and evident loyalties to the Police and the Crown, it is clearly inappropriate that she should have a pivotal role in determining the outcome of a mercy application that comprises a book and a documentary (Trial by Trickery and Murder on the Blade? by Keith Hunter) that severely criticise Police and Crown conduct in the Watson case.

Ms McDonald s involvement in Mr. Watson s mercy plea is inherently conflicted. I would like to know why Ms. McDonald was appointed to this role and why she has retained it despite her obvious conflict of interest.

I look forward to receiving your response to the concerns I have raised. Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Gemma Claire

Cc: Chris and Beverley Watson
Keith Hunter
Members of Facebook group Free Scott Watson: he is innocent


In what we would call another remarkably strange co-incidence yet  another obscure REAA appointee, Barrister and deputy REAA Tribunal Chair, Ms Kate Davenport: Davenport also notes her current membership of the New Zealand Law Societies related prosecution panel in her online CV.

As Mr Walt Disney once famously proclaimed, “its a small world after all” or is it just another classic Kiwi case of “jobs for the boys“…..and girls.

These three legal eagles in particular, it seems to us, have managed to hog far more than their fair share of the comfy seats on the National Party’s cushy gravy train, a train that, looking at the latest polls, is beginning to run out of steam.

Apparently Davenport was handed the REAA position by associate minister for justice Nathan Guy in March 2011, less than twelve months prior Nathan Guy had additionally handed Davenport another highly paid junket, a seat on the Film and Literature Board of Review.

And then there were three: Kathryn Davenport

In our post  ‘The REAA; lies, delusion, politicians and willful blindness’ we looked at the investigation and report produced by wellington solicitor John Edwards (a man with far to many connections to the incumbent national party government for comfort) and had formed the view that McDonald, amongst others, was heavily involved in concealing corrupt practices within the REAA. We also formed the opinion that the then registrar, Janet Mazenier, had obviously been the scape goat during a constructed process of burying the truth surrounding the REAA’s appointment of Jonathan Moss, the REAA shop was after all loaded to the gunwales with ex-cops and those that hadn’t been cops were all cheerleaders of a somewhat clandestine police fan club.

Subsequent to that post we received (anonymously) a copy of a very interesting document that (it has been alleged) was demanded of Jonathan Moss’s mate Sarn Herdson by her employer, Auckland crown solicitors Meredith Connell (obviously in this case, if the document is genuine, so as to cover their own backsides), which further advances our belief that Herdson was involved with Jonathan Moss and had conspired with McDonald and other REAA staffers to secure Moss the position at the REAA.

It seems to us that the bad reputation that New Zealand is fast acquiring, internationally with Asian, Australian and other foreign jurists, critical of New Zealand Police,  its Courts and trial processes, is very much deserved.

On the evidence, it also occurs to us that the problem’s in New Zealand are systemic; the judicial system has simply become over-loaded with  inbred appointments, nepotism, “wink wink nudge nudge” arrangements otherwise known here in Australia as corrupt practice.

The legal gene-pool had been further putrefied when those who were a big part of  the problem also just happened to sit on the boards and committee’s responsible for policing the bad behaviour of their “friends” and legal associates.


Woman on Boards: Kristy McDonald QC

Kate CV Current Sept 2011.doc – New Zealand Bar Association

Kate Davenport – Bankside Chambers


About the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal

Claim lawyer ‘not regular’ in paying his staff (NZ Herald)

Head of real estate watchdog quits (NZ Herald)

Disgraced cop faces criminal inquiry – national |

Senior policeman resigns over old work affair – National – NZ Herald

Top cop’s affair with younger officer (3 News)

Top officer kept claims secret – National – NZ Herald News

Scandal rocks Real Estate Agents Authority | The National Business

Police Commissioner’s statement to media | New Zealand Police


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