District Court Judge passes away

A District Court Judge has suddenly died in his Rotorua house with colleagues paying their respects to the well-known legal personality.

Rotorua District Court Judge, James Weir, has unexpectedly died in his home in Tihiotonga. He was found by his daughter on Sunday (10 January).

Bay of Plenty Coroner, Wallace Bain, carried out a forensic post mortem yesterday.

“We have learnt that in the last few days Judge Weir has probably had several mini-strokes which haven't been recognised as that and my preliminary view is he had another one which caused him to fall through a glass door...,” he told the NZ Herald.

A special sitting was held on Monday at the Rotorua District Court with Judges Chris McQuire, Jocelyn Munro and Alayne Wills paying their respects.

The Rotorua police told the Rotorua Daily Post that there was “nothing at this stage to indicate the death is suspicious”.

Local lawyer and former president of the New Zealand Law Society, Jonathan Temm, gave his sympathies to Judge Weir’s family and friends. Most of Rotorua’s legal community knew the judge and had appeared in front of him, he said.

Chief District Court Judge Jan-Marie Doogue also paid tribute to Judge Weir.

“He was much loved and respected among the community of District Court judges and he will be sorely missed. I pass on my deepest sympathy to his family, friends and colleagues,” she said.

Judge Weir had presided over Rotorua courtrooms for 15 years, moving from Hamilton and hearing cases in Rotorua, Tokoroa and Taupo. He left his court position in April 2015 when he was appointed chairman of the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority.

“He loved his new role, and when I spoke to him before Christmas he was still excited about it and enjoying the travel, which took him the length and breadth of the country,” Judge Doogue said.

Judge Weir’s funeral is expected to be held in Rotorua later on this week.

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