Leading criminal barrister and former Law Society president Jonathan Temm QC dies

Top trial lawyer and former New Zealand Law Society president Jonathan Temm has died.

The Rotorua barrister was involved in some of the country’s biggest criminal cases during his career, including the Nia Glassie murder trial.

He was 58.

The Law Society said in a statement last night that Temm died on Wednesday.

A death notice in this morning’s New Zealand Herald said he passed away “peacefully with his wife and three daughters at his side following a courageous fight”.

Temm was described as a courageous and passionate man – staunchly committed to access to justice – and dedicated much of his life to leadership and volunteer roles in the legal industry.

“I know Jonathan’s passing is a particular loss for the criminal bar and for his friends and colleagues in Rotorua,” Law Society president Tiana Epati said.

“Jonathan was incredibly generous with his time and always willing to help his fellow lawyers. When I took on the role as president, he was one of the first people who reached out and made sure I knew I could contact him at any time if I needed to talk about the pressures of the role.

“We have lost a leader, a great advocate and a good kind man.”

Temm’s legal career began at Chapman Tripp Sheffield Young in Auckland in 1993 before he went on to join Davys Burton in 1995, where he later became a partner and senior Crown counsel. He spent 10 years in the role of Crown Counsel prosecuting all types of serious crime.

In 2005 he commenced practice as a barrister sole, with a specialty in criminal law and civil litigation.

Temm was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 2019.

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