Rosemary McLeod is a journalist and columnist of long standing, and has covered some high-profile criminal trials during her long career. But in her Dominion-Post column this morning, she hands out a bouquet to one of the unsung heroes of the legal system; she writes:
I do have a hero in the legal system just now, though. It's coroner Garry Evans, who last week presented his findings, after an inquisitorial investigation, into the case of the Kahui twins. He laid the blame for their deaths on their father who, as we all know, was tried and found not guilty of their deaths.As with the Macdonald case, not everyone applauded that result at the time. The public will have its whims, despite being regularly chastised by lawyers in a lofty way for not admiring the elegance of their game.Mr Evans, also a lawyer, is now 71-years-old, an age at which nobody gets gushing poolside interviews from eager journalists and few people even get noticed. And what is remarkable is that he lost his job five years ago, for being good at it, it seems. He was hastily reappointed a week later, after a public outcry.Mr Evans, the least flashy man imaginable, is the courageous, if unphotogenic, conscience of the system. As a 2007 report put it when he was dumped, he'd been a thorn in the side of negligent authorities, "controversially taking the lead on issues such as suicide, highway fatalities and hospital failures".Kapiti emergency trauma doctor Chris Lane had this to say at the time: "He's just a very wise man. You put 10 men in his position and 10 men wouldn't have done the job he's done. He's been a tremendous voice for the public conscience."You don't get higher praise than that, or more deserved - yet you wouldn't recognise Mr Evans in the street. Somehow that makes him all the more admirable.