David Carruthers (judge)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Sir David Carruthers

Chief District Court Judge
In office
June 2001 – June 2005
Chair of New Zealand Parole Board
In office
Succeeded byWarwick Gendall
Chair of Independent Police Conduct Authority
Assumed office
Preceded byLowell Goddard
Personal details
David James Carruthers

Pahiatua, New Zealand
Alma materVictoria University of Wellington

Sir David James Carruthers KNZM is a long-serving member of the New Zealand legal community. He worked as a lawyer in Wellington, Pahiatua and Palmerston North, before being appointed as a Family Court Judge in 1985. In 2001, Carruthers was appointed as Chief District Court Judge, a position he held until 2005, when he was appointed as the chairman of the New Zealand Parole Board. In 2012, Carruthers joined the Independent Police Conduct Authority as its chairman.

Early life and family[edit]

Carruthers was born and raised in Pahiatua, New Zealand.[1] He went on to study law, graduating LLB from Victoria University of Wellington in 1962.[1] He completed his LLM with honours two years later.[1]

Carruthers is married and has five children.


Legal practice[edit]

Carruthers practised law in Wellington and Pahiatua for 20 years before moving to Palmerston North.[2]


In 1985, Carruthers was appointed as a judge in the Family Court in Wellington. Five years later he became a judge in the Youth Court, eventually being appointed as Principal Youth Court Judge. In 2000, Carruthers was asked to lead a Ministerial Taskforce on Youth Offending to come up with initiatives designed to reduce youth crime after Ministry of Justice figures showed that "over the 1990s, offending by 10- to 16-year-olds increased by 55%".[3] In 2001, Carruthers was appointed as Chief District Court Judge, a position he held until 2005.

Carruthers also served as a judge on the High Court of Vanuatu.

New Zealand Parole Board[edit]

Carruthers was appointed Chairman of the New Zealand Parole Board in 2005,[4] a position he held until 2012. He was head of the Board when it made the decision to release Graeme Burton from prison in July 2006. Six months later, Burton shot and killed Karl Kuchenbecker in the hills of Wainuiomata and injured a number of others. Shortly after the murder, Carruthers fronted up for media interviews and spoke about how devastated he felt. He admitted to an "extraordinary sense of personal responsibility" that Burton's release had resulted in two boys losing their father.[5]

Independent Police Conduct Authority[edit]

In April 2012, Parliament appointed Carruthers as the new chairman of the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA).[6]

Public speeches[edit]

Carruthers has given speeches at numerous conferences and seminars both in New Zealand and overseas. For many years he has pushed for a more humane approach to dealing with criminal offenders advocating, in particular, for increased use of restorative and therapeutic justice approaches.[1] He has held a number of public and charitable offices and recommended greater focus on education, and interventions for youth and families rather than locking up more and more offenders.[7] Speaking at a criminology conference in November 2012, Carruthers commented on the reduction in New Zealand's crime rate. He believes the drop may be due to efforts to reduce the number of teenagers being suspended or expelled from school.[8]

Honours and awards[edit]

In 1990, Carruthers was awarded the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal.[9] In the 2005 Queen’s Birthday Honours, he was appointed as a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to the District Court.[10] In 2009, following the reinstatement of titular honours by the New Zealand government, Carruthers accepted re-designation as a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d Speakers page of the 10th World Conference of the International Ombudsman Institute
  2. ^ New Parole Board appointments announced, InfoNews 9 June 2011
  3. ^ Press release Steve Maharey, 3 October 2000 Ministerial Taskforce on youth offending
  4. ^ Press release, Michael Cullen 24 March 2005, New Parole Board Chair Appointed
  5. ^ Tapu Misa: Odd chinks in the gloom, NZ Herald 31
  6. ^ Judge Carruthers appointed new IPCA chair, TV3 News, 5 April 2012
  7. ^ Speaker Biographies Archived 2013-05-05 at Archive.today, International Conference on Restorative Conferencing Tuesday March 2006, Belfast
  8. ^ Schools do their bit to cut crime NZ Herald 28 November 2012
  9. ^ Taylor, Alister; Coddington, Deborah (1994). Honoured by the Queen – New Zealand. Auckland: New Zealand Who's Who Aotearoa. p. 92. ISBN 0-908578-34-2.
  10. ^ "Queen's Birthday Honours List 2005". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 6 June 2005. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  11. ^ "Special Honours List 1 August 2009". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 1 August 2009. Retrieved 24 June 2019.