Sir Terence Arnold’s past conduct would likely preclude his ability to become a judge in any other law-abiding country, let alone be awarded a knighthood for his services to justice in New Zealand. Sir Terence is generally known in the NZ legal community to have engaged in criminal activity as Solicitor General serious enough that it could have landed him in prison had the matter gone to trial.
Rob Moodie, the lawyer representing Margaret and Keith Berryman in a long-running bridge collapse case, took a private prosecution against Sir Terence after a report by a civil engineer showed up discrepancies in the evidence the Army had given to a coroner's inquiry.
In 1994, beekeeper Ken Richards was killed when the Army-built bridge leading to the Berrymans' King Country property collapsed, resulting in a coroners ruling that the Berryman's were responsible because of a lack of maintenance on the bridge.
As Solicitor-General, Sir Terence's misconduct was in not only concealing evidence in the Bridge collapse and Kenneth Richards wrongful death finding, but also the promotion of false evidence at the same time. Mr Moodie said, "as well as suppressing evidence Sir Terence Arnold had assisted the Army to obstruct the course of justice, by binding him to confidentiality over the publication of the civil engineer's ( "the Butcher") report."
Mr Moodie eventually published the report himself on the Internet although the prosecution was thrown out on the recommendation of Crown Counsel John Pike as “not in the public interest” However the Berryman's eventually won a 15 years battle when the Government paid $150,000 in compensation for the bridge collapse leading to their farm.
At the time Sir Terence's and the Crown's conduct was reprehensible, resulting in an elderly couple to be subject to a decade and a half of legal misery because of the delays and deliberate distortions condoned by the Crown. Now today in a comment today praising the providers of justice in New Zealand, Sir Terence's said " "New Zealand's a constitutional democracy. We have a strong commitment to the rule of law and the court which ultimately has the responsibility for that is the Supreme Court."
However, Sir Terence's latest ruling from the Supreme Court on 18 December 2015 is clear evidence the rule of law is more often than not lacking from decisions of the Supreme Court which commonly ignore their own rules and the statutes prescibed by Parliament. In a case before him this month, Sir Terence dismissed an application for leave by avoiding to record or discuss the one and only ground for appeal.
The appeal alleged Judicial incapacitation, following a case where Court of Appeal Justice Rhys Harrison issued a judgment which seemingly bore no resemblance to the application before him; leaving only two possible conclusions, either he didn't read the application or he didn't understand it, either way judge incapacity was a perfectly legitimate ground which should have been recorded in accordance with the Public Records Act 2005.
Sir Terence said today, "the Supreme Court is ultimately responsible for the rule of law in New Zealand", however this latest decision from his desk is proof that members of his Court simply don't care about the law, and calmly proceed to judgment without publicly recording details of the business they're conducting on behalf of the people of New Zealand.
In consideration of the above, Terrence Arnold's honour today should be seen for what it actually is ;a pat on the back from the Attorney-General (Christopher Finlayson) to reward him for his proven track record in covering up and concealing criminal and incompetent conduct of Crown employees."