Bolton, owner of International cruising yacht Classique, began sailing with Sir Peter back in the 1970s on yacht Fidelis
Farewell to Sir Peter Williams QC
A colourful and sometimes controversial legal defender, has died in Auckland, aged 80.
He was involved in some of the country’s most high-profile criminal cases over the past 50 years, and was a tireless campaigner for prisoners’ rights and penal reform.
Sir Peter grew up in Feilding and received his law degree from Auckland University, qualifying as a solicitor in 1958.
He had strong opinions about justice and the underdog – motivated, he said, by reading Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and by his own experience.
Series of famous cases
Over his long career in the law, he acted in several famous cases. He defended Ronald Jorgensen for his part in the so-called 1963 Bassett Road machine gun murders, and Roy Rau, who had stabbed his estranged wife 20 times.
In one of his most famous cases, Sir Peter took on the police to defend Arthur Allan Thomas, who was twice convicted of the 1970 murders of Harvey and Jeanette Crewe.
He took Mr Thomas’ case to the Privy Council and represented him at the royal commission of investigation that followed his pardon.
The royal commission resulted in heavy criticism of the police investigation, and Mr Thomas was awarded almost $1 million for nine years of wrongful imprisonment.
Another case that came to define Sir Peter’s career was his successful defence of Terry Clark, later known as Mr Asia, on his first drugs charges in the late 1970s.
In the last few years of his career, Sir Peter was still involved in controversial cases.
He retired in 2010, still taking aim at the legal system and at what he called the creeping collusion between the police and government forensic scientists.
He had a lifelong concern for prisoners’ rights and about the justice system, believing evidence was often not properly examined before a case went to court.
Link for Seeing, Signing & Sharing Petition – http://maritimenz.com/AnnulConvictionGainedByAbuseOfCourtProcess