7 District Court Judges Appointed

  • Hon David Parker

Attorney-General David Parker has announced the appointment of seven District Court Judges.

They will take up their roles in January and February 2023, replacing judges who have recently retired.

Those appointed are:

Debra Anne Bell, Coroner of Auckland as a District Court Judge with a jury jurisdiction to be based in Auckland.

She has been a Coroner since 2015, having previously been in practice as a barrister sole for three years. Before that she was a partner at Meredith Connell for eight years and was at that firm in total for over 25 years, finishing as Managing Partner of the Manukau office.

She will be sworn in on 9 January 2023.

Auckland barrister Kathryn (Kate) Gail Davenport KC barrister of Auckland as a District Court Judge with a jury jurisdiction to be based in Auckland.

She was appointed as KC in 2013 and specialises in civil and commercial litigation. She has mediation and decision-making expertise and has been a Deputy Chair of the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal, Deputy Chair of Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal and Chair of the National Ethics Committee for Assisted Reproductive Technology. She is a former president of the NZ Bar Association and a former vice-president of the NZ Law Society.

She will be sworn in on 21 February 2023.

Auckland barrister Simon John Lance as a District Court Judge with a jury jurisdiction to be based in Auckland.

He established the firm of Lance Lawson in Rotorua and was the senior partner between 1996 and 2006 before moving to Auckland as a Barrister at City Chambers. His career has mainly been in criminal law although he has experience in regulatory prosecutions and aspects of civil law. He has acted as counsel in criminal trials in the District Court, High Court and Court of Appeal.

He will be sworn in on 10 January 2023.

New Plymouth lawyer Justin Marijan Marinovch as a District Court Judge with a jury jurisdiction to be based in Whanganui.

His legal career started with Auld Brewer Mazengarb and McEwan in New Plymouth where he became an Associate and stayed until 2011. He then established the firm of C & M legal in New Plymouth where he has been a partner since 2011. Most of his experience is in the criminal jurisdiction and he has conducted High and District Court jury trials, has worked in the Youth Court and assists with the management of the Crown Warrant at New Plymouth for the Crown Solicitor.

He will be sworn in on 13 January 2023.

Auckland solicitor Melinda Mere Mason as a District Court Judge with a jury jurisdiction to be based in Tauranga.

She was with the Public Defence Service as a foundation employee in the pilot project in Manukau in 2004 and in 2008 became a barrister sole specialising in criminal and military law and is a member of the NZDF legal panel. In 2015 she established Mason and Mortimer Lawyers in Auckland and has a wide general practice covering criminal, youth, civil and family law. She has had court experience over that time with appearances in most jurisdictions.

She will be sworn in on 11 January 2023.

Dunedin solicitor Campbell David Savage as a District Court Judge with a jury jurisdiction to be based in Timaru.

He was an associate and partner at O’Driscoll and Marks between 1997 and 2006 and a partner at Aspinall Joel between 2006 and 2011. He joined the Public Defence Service in 2011 and has been the Public Defender Southern since 2018. He has criminal law experience in the District and High Court and manages and mentors public defence service lawyers.

He will be sworn in on 12 January 2023.

Chief Coroner Anna Joan Tutton of Christchurch as a District Court Judge with general jurisdiction to be based in Wellington.

She was appointed as a Coroner in January 2015 and as Deputy Chief Coroner in 2020. In November 2022 she was appointed Chief Coroner. Prior to her appointment she was employed by the New Zealand Police as the manager of the legal team and acted as legal adviser to the police response to the Pike River mining disaster. She has worked mainly in criminal law and legal training roles including as a High Court Judges’ clerk, Assistant Crown Counsel, Crown Prosecutor, senior counsel at the Commerce Commission and Deputy National Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies.

She will be sworn in on 30 January 2023.

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