From Ken’s desk September 2011

A friend to our work will be sorely missed 
 
On July 24th 2011 Chief District Court Judge Russell Johnson died (aged 64 years) after a short illness. Judge Johnson was known for his commitment to the concept of therapeutic jurisprudence – the study of the effects of law and the legal system on the behaviour, emotions, and mental health of people.
 

In 1993, Judge Johnson was appointed a District Court Judge, sitting in Auckland courts. At the Manukau District Court, he initiated the creation of New Zealand’s second specialist Family Violence Court. He was a strong proponent of restorative justice and during his time as Chief District Court Judge saw the establishment of the five additional family violence courts throughout New Zealand.

Judge Johnson was approachable, likeable and a man of integrity. He always had time for people – I remember walking down the Terrace in Wellington and bumping into Judge Johnson. We stopped for a chat about how a project with the family violence courts that HMA was working on, was working out. He was engaging and thoughtful. He was that sort of man – interested, committed to change and prepared to engage with a wide range of people.

He had a passion about the family violence sector ensuring that victims were treated well and fairly. He also recognised the importance for those who were found guilty of a charge of assault within the family be given the opportunity to sort themselves out, make amends and restore the mana (dignity) of those who were abused.

Thank you Russell for your strength, commitment and the legacy that you leave behind. We are all the better for have known you and the foundations you have laid for us to follow.

Kua hinga he totara i te wao nui a Tane
A totara has fallen in the forest of Tane

(The Totara is a native tree of New Zealand. It is a huge tree that grows for hundreds of years. For one of them to fall is a great tragedy. This proverb is said when someone of importance passes away.)

Published on Monday, September 12th, 2011, under Announcements, What Ken thinks

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