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.
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.
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’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.
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.”