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Whenever the Atkinson Ministry have interfered with the judicial Bench they' have made a sad bungle. When a successor was required for one of the late judges the Government " hawked " the position round the country, and offered it to almost every lawyer of note m the colony. No one couldbe found to accept, because a feeling existed that, rather than give the position to a, District Judge who Was fairly entitled to it, the Ministry would have offered it to the "man m the street." This feeling, naturally enough, served to discount the honor attachable to selection, and it really appeared at one time as if a successor to the deceased Judge would not be found m the colony. At length, however, a well-known and able lawyer was found, j who accepted the Judgeship and who is now an ornament to the judicial Bench. The Ministry were so severely rated over this appointment, that it was fully expected they would learn wisdom, and that m any future appointments or ininterference with the administration of justice the utmost caution and discretion would be exercised. This expectation was not realised, for scarcely had the foregoing episode died out of the public mind, ere one member of the Cabinet took it upon himself to interfere with the administration of justice by the District Judge before referred to ; but owing to the manner m which his (the Minister's) conduct was condemned m the House and throughout the country, lie had to resign his portfolio. Two blunders of this kind should have been sufficient for any ordinary Ministry, but the Atkinson Ministry are not an ordinary Ministry, and a third bungle has now been perpetrated through the unconstitutional appointment of a sixth Judge, m direct contravention of the Constitution Act. Here, again, the Ministry has trailad the Supreme Court Bench through the mire, causing the name of Judge Edwards to be bandied about m the House and throughout the country. Under the plea, for which there has never appeared the slightest justification, that the work of the colony too great to be overtaken by the present judges, a sixth judge, (Judge Edwards was appointed during the recent recess at a salary of £IG2I. No indication of the intention to make this appointment was given previously, and when theappointment was made public the Government were accused on all sides of extravagance, a charge which has been well sustained by the House, which has refused to ratify the appointment or vote the necessary salary. No Government could be placed m a more humiliating position than this, but the Acting-Premier and his colleagues do not appear to feel it, and are content to hold office at all hazards, until unmistakeably ejected by the vote of the electors of the colony—a contingency which we trust is no>v not fai'°off.

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Bibliographic details

THE JUDGE EDWARDS APPOINTMENT., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2521, 18 September 1890

Word Count

THE JUDGE EDWARDS APPOINTMENT. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2521, 18 September 1890