The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 28. 1888. THE VACANT JUDGHHIP.
The long delay which has occurred m filling up the seat on the Judicial Bench left vacant by the death of Mr Justice Johnston is, we think, by no means creditable to the Government. There h not the smallest question m the public mind that one man, and one man only, is entitled to the position, and that that man is his Honor Judge Ward, who has now for a long time —about two years we think —occupied the position as a locum tenens with the greatest credit to the office and to himself, and to the general satisfaction of suitors and of the members of the Bar. Obviously the right thing to have done would have been to give Judge Ward the permanent appointment so soon as the death of Judge Johnston was officially known, and if, as is now believed, the intention is to set aside Judge Ward and appoint someone else to the position, Ministers will have only themselves to blame if their motives are misjudged. The following is the latest information on the subject and is contained m a telegram to the '• Otago Daily Times" from its Wellington correspondent: —" Nothing is finally settled as to the judgeship, but an impression seems to be gaining m legal circles that Judge Ward will not be the man. I was positively told last night that the judgeship had been offpred to Mr Haggitt, but had bppn declined by him, and Mr Connolly's name had been a good deal mentioned. It is suspected that Ministers find a good deal of difficulty m coming to a decision for various reasons which need not be explicitly stated, but can readily be conjectured. It is still asserted with great circumstantiality that the judgeship was offered to Sir B, ttout, notwithstanding the Government's denial, but that the offer was made m such a way as to enable the Government to say with truth that it had not been done " officially "— that is to say, it is alleged that although the Premier may not have made the offer to Sir R. Stout, an intimation was made by $ Minister that if he would take the position it was at his service ; but he did not see his way to take it just now. All this may be mere gossip, but I send it for what it is worth." We have heard something very like this several times before during the paefc fewmonths, and are inclined to believe that there would not be bo much smoke unless ther« were fire at the bottom ot it — m other words we shall not be surprised to find that the foregoing is either the exact truth or something not very far from it. If so, and the result be that Judge Ward's claims are set aside m favor of some MinisfcerfaJ favor)te; nothing, we are convinced, will jever pervade the public but that injustice has been done and that m this matter Ministers have preferred to yield to political considerations rather than to select the most capable man for the vacant appointment..