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High hopes for Goddard in UK probe

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 4/08/2016 Ryan Hooper, Press Association

There were high hopes for Dame Lowell Goddard when she became head of the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse last year.

Aged 66 at the time of taking on the role, in the spring of 2015, Justice Goddard was younger - albeit by months - than both her predecessors, Fiona Woolf, also 66 and Baroness Butler-Sloss, 81.

The new incumbent, as she was - a New Zealand High Court judge and mother-of-four - was described as "a highly respected member of the judiciary" at the forefront of criminal law and procedure in her home country for several years.

She was the first woman to be appointed to the Queen's Counsel, along with a colleague in 1988, and was also the first woman of Maori descent to have been appointed to the New Zealand High Court bench, in 1995.

She also helped establish police support networks for sexual abuse victims, and was chair of the Independent Police Conduct Authority report into police handling of child abuse cases.

In 2014, she was appointed Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to law.

The Auckland-born judge is married with three step-children, as well as a daughter from her first marriage.

Her interests are listed as gardening, her family and equestrian sport.

The judge breeds and races horses, and supports various charities including Amnesty International, as well as those caring for animals and disabled children.

But her tenure was to last barely 18 months, and concluded amid revelations she had spent more than 70 days working abroad or on holiday in her first year in the role.

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