Cross-dressing lawyer Rob Moodie has lost an appeal against a
stinging Employment Court ruling that found he was
"vindictive" and "vengeful" to a former employee.
Dr Moodie accepted the Court of Appeal decision and conceded
there was little prospect of further appeals. But he blasted
the judiciary for sticking together over the ruling.
"It's the sort of decision that is issued out of the New
Zealand Court of Appeal all the time.
"Judges will not criticise each other."
In a decision released in June, Employment Court Judge Graeme
Colgan found Dr Moodie had unjustifiably dismissed former
employee Elizabeth Strachan and deliberately set out to ruin
her career - two years after the original hearing was held.
Dr Moodie - who is also known as Miss Alice and has been
known to wear Alice in Wonderland outfits to court - appealed
the decision on seven grounds, including the long delay for
the decision to be released, discrimination and bias.
In their decision - released today - Court of Appeal Justices
Mark O'Regan, Christine French and Raynor Asher said the
judge's decision to release his ruling two years after the
hearing was a matter for concern.
Ms Strachan made some inquiries about when a decision would
be released and Dr Moodie said this could have caused Judge
Colgan to decide in her favour to avoid criticism.
The justices said that speculation was "regrettable" with no
evidential basis, but the delay was "unacceptable".
Dr Moodie argued Judge Colgan's comment that it could be the
final case of his career was discriminatory against his age
and revealed a bias against him.
He said the comments were "unfair, mistaken, unnecessary,
unreasonable, gratuitous, discriminated against the applicant
because of his age, and were calculated to lower his
professional and personal standing by casting him in the
light of being an old codger".
However, the justices said the judge's comments needed to be
seen in perspective.
"The judge did not use the term 'old codger' and we do not
think a reasonable reader would infer that the judge
considered that the applicant was an old codger."
Speaking today, Dr Moodie - who is in his 70s - said there
were no grounds to take his case any further.
The justices "didn't have the guts" to address the long delay
it took for the Employment Court ruling to be released, he
The decision was no surprise, but he wanted the ruling
because it would make up part of a book he was writing about
his "disillusionment" with the country's judiciary.
In a stinging rebuke in the original Employment Court
decision, Judge Colgan said Dr Moodie had impugned Ms
Strachan's reputation with the legal fraternity, and without
"It is difficult to imagine any more calculated, vindictive
and vengeful attack."
Judge Colgan said Dr Moodie had a "perverse desire to bring
about Ms Strachan's professional and personal ruination".
He ordered Dr Moodie to pay $57,989 in unpaid wages, $30,000
compensation and $2500 for refusing to provide a written
Ms Strachan began voluntarily working for Dr Moodie in late
2004/early 2005 to gain legal experience.
During 2005 there was an agreement between the pair for Ms
Strachan to share in the firm's profits.
Their relationship broke down the following year when Ms
Strachan discovered the practice - which she believed had run
on a pro bono basis - had made $700,000 from a police
Judge Colgan found Ms Strachan had been "misled and deceived"
by Dr Moodie.
Ms Strachan would not comment today but through her lawyer,
Peter Churchman, said she was relieved the case was finally