Judicial Net Porn Viewing Investigation Widens
Five District court judges have been found to have been viewing pornographic websites on work computers, as the Attorney General investigates the viewing of sex-sites by High Court Judge Robert Fisher.
Attorney General Margaret Wilson revealed yesterday that she is awaiting reports on the accessing of sex-sites by three District Court judges. Radio reports this morning put the number at five.
Ms Wilson is to meet Chief Justice Sian Elias today to discuss Justice Fisher’s accessing of sex-sites, which was discovered 15 months ago in a routine Court Department computer audit.
Justice Fisher apologised to the Chief Justice at the time and was not disciplined further, but with the scandal now in the media, the Attorney General and Prime Minister Helen Clark said at yesterday’s post cabinet press conference there is now a question of public confidence.
“A judge sits in judgement on others. That is why probably higher standards are expected of them than anyone else in the land,” Miss Clark said.
The Chief Justice is expected to be questioned about why the Government was not informed at the time.
The Prime Minister intimated that Justice Fisher may have to resign, as anyone in public office must accept public scrutiny.
She said Justice Fisher’s behaviour was inappropriate and an error of judgement, but said she would, “contain her feelings”, until she had further advice.
Ms Wilson said the sites accessed by Justice Fisher appear to have contained lawful adult movies in the nature of what might be viewed on a hotel television, but she was awaiting a report on the nature of the material viewed by the District Court judges.
Ms Wilson said advice received to date is that there are no grounds to prosecute Justice Fisher as he has not broken the law.
She said she had received messages of confidence in Justice Fisher from within the legal profession, including women who said he was a good advocate for women’s issues.
However, Wellington Women’s Refuge has called for Justice Fisher’s resignation, saying he is not fit to judge cases of rape or sexual abuse.