Exploring the Controversial Case of 2023

Davina Murray, discredited lawyer who married Liam Reid, fails to resume her profession.


In the controversial case of Davina Murray and Liam Reid, two people’s lives have been changed forever. This case has captivated the public as it brings up questions about justice and morality.

Exploring the controversial case of davina murray and liam reid


An Auckland lawyer who was struck off for bringing contraband into jail for her convicted murderer client—whom she subsequently married—failed to resume her legal career.


Davina Reid claims the Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal’s denial “reflects the inherent bias” it has “towards criminal barristers” and will appeal.


Liam reid and davina reid (nee murray). Photo / herald graphic


She also alleges bias against “any lawyer of Maori descent”.

Reid, then Davina Murray, was sentenced to 50 hours of community service in the District Court for smuggling a smartphone, cigarettes, and a lighter to Liam Reid.




Liam Reid was sentenced to life for raping and murdering deaf lady Emma Agnew in Christchurch in 2007 and raping, attempted murder, and robbery of a 21-year-old student in Dunedin nine days later.


Reid was disbarred by the Attorneys and Conveyances Disciplinary Tribunal after her smuggling conviction.


She told NZME she had requested to be reinstated as a lawyer and solicitor earlier this year.


She told the tribunal last month she had worn a “veil of shame” long enough and should be allowed to practice law again.


Reid told the tribunal she felt being struck from the bar was “manifestly unjust” and that her offending was minor enough to be covered by the Clean Slate Act.

She was employed by Te Whānau O Waipareira – an Auckland-based Māori support service and said if she was readmitted to the bar she would become the organisation’s sole in-house lawyer.

Reid informed the Herald of the tribunal’s ruling after receiving it from the tribunal.

The statement said, “Redemption is possible: the legislative clause provides restoration.”

The Tribunal must determine whether an applicant is now “fit and suitable” to be accepted in petitions for restoration after strike-off. The shadow has it vanished?

Reid’s actions in bringing the things to the killer in jail, according to the Tribunal, constituted a “gross violation of trust.”

The document said, “And a misuse of her privileged status as a lawyer.”

Ironically, Ms. Reid’s breach has directly contributed to ongoing barriers for prisoners to contact their attorneys, despite the fact that she claims to want to fight for the underprivileged.

Lawyers must wait longer to enter prisons due to search requirements. In prison interviews, clients and counsel are now typically separated by physical barriers.

This has a serious adverse effect on the legal profession and the clients that lawyers represent.

James Reid, Liam. Image by NZME

The Tribunal also noted that this was not Reid’s first run-in with trouble.

Before her conviction, there had been “three other adverse disciplinary findings.”

She once “falsely accused two Correctional officials of collaborating” to put the goods she sneaked into jail on her now-husband, according to her prior behavior.

The tribunal stated, “Something she knew was false, was reprehensible, especially for a lawyer.”


Two of her prior disciplinary problems involved close relationships with two different men.

She represented that guy in relationship property processes, but when their close connection ended, she sent his ex-wife—who was separately represented—confidential information.


“That was the initial charge from that connection.

“After that ex-partner committed suicide, the second pertinent charge materialized. She handed his estate a fees account for $67,500 even though there was evidence from several messages and emails that she had promised to do the task for free.

Reid’s “pattern of failure to observe professional boundaries,” the tribunal stated, “troubles” it.

It stated, “In her case before us, she made no attempt to address this troubling pattern.

“There is no information available about any understanding she may have of this pattern or the steps she has taken to identify triggers and prevent repetition.


Another issue that concerns us when we assess Ms. Reid’s moral compass is her lack of candor.


“She exhibits the avoidant characteristics that are evident in her attempts to minimize responsibility and punishment in the criminal case in her dealings with an Australian employer.”



Liam james reid. Photo / nzme
Liam Reid, a notorious murderer, was the target of Davina Murray’s alleged smuggling of an iPhone and other illegal items. Photo by the NZ Herald

The tribunal found that Reid worked with high-risk youth at a Queensland organization between July and December 2017 as a youth worker, ensuring their rehabilitation and reintegration into society.


She had told the company she had no convictions, but when they learned otherwise, she was fired from her position.

The tribunal stated that it was unimpressed with Ms. Reid’s explanation that she had assumed she only needed to disclose convictions that occurred in Australia.

“In our opinion, it is evident that the motivation for the disclosure obligation would not be territorially restricted. Intelligent and capable of understanding what was needed, Ms. Reid is a woman.

The failure in 2017 “falls below the level of honesty and candor that we would expect in a person who is fit and appropriate to be registered as a lawyer,” according to the statement.


The tribunal also considered Reid’s claims that she had been the victim of racial discrimination and that her conviction had been “blown out of proportion” by the media, increasing public scrutiny and disdain for her.

According to the ruling, “She also feels a great feeling of resentment that she has been subjected to discrimination by the courts and the tribunal.”

She called her treatment “manifestly excessive,” citing the refusal to release her without a conviction as an example.

“She claims to have endured nine years of “torture and brutalization”.”


The tribunal claimed to be a “culturally and racially diverse panel with broad life experience, mindful of differing societal perspectives.”

“We are aware of the history of colonization in our nation and the significant effects it continues to have on Us today.

The racial disparity in the prison population is one example of how institutional racism still exists.

“We are cognizant of racism, as well as the damaging nature and results of unfair preconceptions and slights like the ones Ms. Reid has encountered.

“However, we do not share Ms. Reid’s belief that she has received different treatment than what another person would have received had they behaved as she did in the matters generally relevant to her striking-off and the prior criminal matters.

We acknowledge that she has legitimate grievances, but we believe she is mistaken in her perception of these specific issues.

We don’t see a reasonable or convincing reason for her claim that the District Court, the High Court, or the Tribunal treated her unjustly when they struck her off. Had others acted in the same way as she did, we would anticipate similar results.

Reid has been unsuccessful in trying to restart her legal career. Picture: NZME

Reid was cited by the tribunal as a hindrance to “genuine remorse without which change is impossible” because she was “yet unable to fulsomely acknowledge her wrongdoing.”


“Ms. Reid lacks the candor necessary to discuss the pertinent past. She makes an effort to downplay her guilt, according to the tribunal.

“Even though she claimed to acknowledge that what she did was wrong, when questioned why it was wrong, her response mostly centered on the unpleasant effects it had on her and her whnau.


The impression that is left is that she is primarily sorry for being exposed and held accountable.

The tribunal acknowledged Reid’s “passion to advocate for those she regards as underprivileged” and agreed that Mori, including whine Mori, are proportionately under­represented in the legal profession.


“Her enthusiasm is real. The tribunal said that if she were a lawyer, she would be free to support any cause as long as she behaved herself in a way that was appropriate for the required fitness and propriety.


Yet she is unable to represent clients as a lawyer unless she can meet the “fit and suitable” requirement.


Davina murray was charged with smuggling an iphone and other contraband items to high-profile murderer liam reid. Photo / nz herald

James Reid, Liam. Image by NZME

“She caused serious damage to the industry’s image.


Despite the fact that it has been a while since she was dismissed, our assessment of Ms. Reid’s future behavior is that she still lacks genuine understanding of the factors that contributed to her predicament.

“We cannot be convinced that she is now a suitable and appropriate person to be re-enrolled due to her history of blurring professional lines, getting too close to clients, flagrantly breaking the law, spreading lies or disguising the truth.

“She lacks sympathy for individuals she has affected due to her character flaws, has no true understanding into her crime, and keeps downplaying it.

“We don’t think she really regrets what she done,’ we say. She acts out of self-interest and sorrow for the harm she has done to herself and people around her instead.


Reid’s “relevant character defects are still profound,” according to the tribunal.

It said, “We do not see Ms. Reid as being safe to practice.”

Unanimously, we do not agree that Ms. Reid is a suitable candidate to re-enroll as a lawyer.

We wish her well in her future endeavors, but we reject her application since it was unsuccessful.

The tribunal claimed that it did not take Reid’s personal life into account when making its decision.

It said that a lawyer “need not be well-liked or embrace conventional opinions on social or political concerns.”

“In this instance, Ms. Reid’s marriage to an infamous inmate who was found guilty of rape and murder drew criticism in the press.

“Her marriage and that remark are unimportant to our assessment.”


Reid informed the Herald that she had given her attorneys instructions to appeal the judgment.


The outcome, according to her, “reflects the inherent prejudice the tribunal has towards criminal barristers and particularly any lawyer who is of Mori descent.”


“The diluted evaluation of tikanga and its relation to my application was awful. Putting a token Mori on a largely Phek bench, who was also without legal background, and then he offers expert testimony about restorative justice, which was a mistake not only in law but in tikanga.


Tikanga, a system made up of custom, traditional knowledge, practices, rules, and procedures, is the right or proper way to do things in Mori society.


Despite the decision, she vowed to keep fighting for the right to practice law.


Exploring the controversial case of davina murray and liam reid

Even though it was yet another ad hominem attack on her reputation, she said, “I have learned that justice is accessible for the tenacious, steadfast, and for those that continue the good fight.”


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