Friday, 5 August 2016

Goddard`s curious resignation letter

Joshua Rozenberg

"Goddard’s letter gives no reason for her resignation. But what’s curious about her resignation letter is that the letters QC appear after her typed name at the end. Her correct post-nominals are DNZM (comparable to a DBE). High Court judges in England and Wales drop the letters QC on appointment and I believe the same is true in New Zealand."

"Maybe I’m reading too much into it but I think that her resignation letter, though printed on the inquiry team’s letterhead, may have been drafted and typed for her by the home office. Rudd repeats the solecism in her reply, addressing it to `Hon Dame Lowell Goddard QC`."

"And then look at what Rudd says to Goddard. `It is a testament to your commitment that you have taken the difficult decision to stand down now, having set the inquiry firmly on course, and allow someone else to lead it through to the end. With regret, I agree that this is the right decision`."

"That suggests to me that Rudd wanted Goddard to stand down and offered her the option of resignation. How can Rudd say it’s the right decision unless she knows Goddard’s reasons? Or unless it was Rudd who told Goddard to go?"

"And why might this be? I don’t think it can be the long holidays reported in today’s Times. Return flights to New Zealand were part of the package she negotiated. And I don’t think it can be the six-month delay in starting the Janner hearings."

"Nor do I think it can have been my Facebook post last Sunday or the story by Sean O’Neill in The Times a day earlier, both of which suggested Goddard was out of her depth although her performance at the hearing we reported may have been the last straw."

"I also don’t think we can learn very much from Goddard’s statement tonight that running the inquiry was `not an easy task… and with hindsight it would have been better to have started completely afresh`."

"But I do think that what we saw at the Janner hearing last week was a symptom of a deeper malaise. Goddard simply does not have the skills to run an inquiry of this sort either in a courtroom setting or outside it."

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