Tributes flowed last night for top criminal barrister Greg King, who was found dead beside his car. He was 42.
Attorney-General Chris Finlayson led the eulogies for King, a brilliant legal mind and devoted family man, who is survived by his wife, Catherine, and daughters Pippa, 5, and Millie, 3.
The Law Society president Jonathan Temm said lawyers were under enormous pressure, and King had been affected by public condemnation of the Ewen Macdonald not guilty verdicts.
But the case took its toll in the form of public condemnation of the lawyer.
Temm said King had copped a lot of flak after his most high-profile client, Feilding farmer Macdonald, was acquitted of killing his brother-in-law Scott Guy in July.
"When you pick up a newspaper or turn on a radio and people are slagging off the outcome, that indirectly reflects on him too," Temm said.
King was a "brilliant lawyer" who accepted unpopular cases, which took courage.
"He represented them with brilliance and determination. Greg had a rare skill. He was an orator from a kind of bygone age."
It takes a rare person to be a criminal defence lawyer. However much we may dislike the idea at times, every person charged with an offence is entitled to a competent defence.
Greg King was far more than a competent defence lawyer. He was one of the very best in the country, and he will be remembered alongside others who have gone before him such as Mike Bungay and Trevor de Cleene. It is inevitable that the Ewen Macdonald defence will be his epitaph.
Our thoughts and prayers go from afar to Catherine and to the King Family. Their loss is New Zealand's loss.