Cook Islands’ High Court judge Justice Colin Nicholson is retiring at the end of this month.
Nicholson has served as a judge in the Cooks since his appointment in April 2005. During that time he conducted a wide range of criminal and civil cases.
He was the first judge to prosecute Cook Islanders for DVD piracy in 2011, he recommended an act of parliament be amended after a drafting error nearly saw a cultivation of cannabis charge dismissed in 2009, and in 2010 conducted the longest-running criminal case in Cook Islands history, Operation Slush.
Nicholson also presided over former CICC minister Tea O Tangaroa Tekeu Uea’s trial for indecently assaulting three teenage girls. During the trial Nicholson told the jury it was never an easy matter to judge a fellow human being and although it was difficult not to act in an emotional way, ”you are acting as judges and a judge should never allow feelings of prejudice or sympathy to influence his or her decision.“
Graduating in 1960 with a Bachelor of Laws, Nicholson was admitted as barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of NZ the same year. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1979, and from 1989 to 1990 he was vice-president of the NZ Law Society. In 1995 Nicholson was appointed a district court judge, a youth court judge a year later, and then a judge of the High Court of NZ in 1998, where he stayed until 2009.
As well as his Cook Islands court duties, he served time as the chairman of the Cook Islands Media Council.
”I would like to thank him for his tremendous contribution to the Cook Islands over many years,“says Chief Justice Tom Weston.
The judge retires with many happy memories of his time as a judge in the Cook Islands.