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The Right Honourable
 Sir Thomas Eichelbaum 
GBE, QC

In office
1989 – 17 May 1999
Preceded by Sir Ronald Davison
Succeeded by Dame Sian Elias

Born May 17, 1931 (1931-05-17) (age 78)
Königsberg,  Germany
Spouse(s) Vida, Lady Eichelbaum

Sir Johann Thomas Eichelbaum, GBE, QC (艾俊彬爵士) (born May 17, 1931) was the eleventh Chief Justice of New Zealand.

Contents

Early life

He was born in Königsberg, Germany, and his family emigrated to Wellington, New Zealand in 1938 to escape the persecution of Jews.[1] He was educated at Hutt Valley High School, then attended Victoria University of Wellington graduating with a LL.B in 1954.

Judge of the High Court of New Zealand

Sir Thomas was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1978. He was President of the New Zealand Law Society in 1980-1982. He was appointed a judge of the High Court of New Zealand in 1982.

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Chief Justice of New Zealand

In 1989 he was appointed the Chief Justice of New Zealand. He retired from the Bench in 1999.

Retirement

Since retiring as a judge, Sir Thomas has conducted investigations on a number of controversial topics. He chaired the 2000-2001 Report of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification. He also investigated the reasons for New Zealand losing co-hosting rights to the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Following his report, the chairman and the CEO of the New Zealand Rugby Union both resigned.

In 2001, he conducted a ministerial inquiry reviewing children's evidence in the controversial Peter Ellis case. His report, which has been widely criticised [2] , upheld the guilty verdicts and stands in contrast to an earlier report by retired High Court judge, Sir Thomas Thorp. A New Zealand Law Journal editorial has stated that Eichelbaum had either not read all the children's statements (reviewing only those allowed by the trial judge) or that, "with respect, his judgement is at fault."[3]

He was knighted a Knight Grand Cross of the British Empire (GBE) in 1989 and became a Privy Councillor in 1989. Eichelbaum is (May 2008) a non-permanent judge of the Hong Kong SAR Court of Final Appeal and a part-time member of the Fiji Court of Appeal.

He is married with three sons and lives on the Kapiti Coast, north of Wellington.

References

  1. ^ For instance, on one occasion Eichelbaum was attacked by a group of other schoolchildren, and even the adult who stopped the assault abused him, calling him ‘a bloody Jew’. James N. Bade and James Braund (Eds), ed (1998). Out of the Shadow of War: The German Connection with New Zealand in the Twentieth Century. Auckland: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-558363-9.  
  2. ^ Francis, Ross (November, December 2007). "New Evidence in the Peter Ellis case". New Zealand Law Journal. http://www.peterellis.org.nz/2007/2007_francis_new_evidence.pdf. Retrieved 2008-03-25.  
  3. ^ Robertson, Bernard (February 2002). "Editorial: The Ellis case". New Zealand Law Journal: 1. ISSN 0028-8873. http://www.menz.org.nz/News%20archive/nzljedfeb02.pdf. Retrieved 2006-04-27.  

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