The lawyer was assaulted in a lift in the Whangārei courthouse on Thursday. (File photo)
There’s widespread shock amongst lawyers in Northland after a fellow lawyer was seriously assaulted in a lift in the Whangārei courthouse.
The family lawyer was taken to hospital in a serious condition following the Thursday assault.
Northland Criminal Bar Association co-chairperson Wayne McKean said the incident had highlighted an unsafe spot in the courthouse.
“We operate in a job where people are stressed a lot and emotions are high,” McKean said.
Lawyers went into confined spaces often with clients, but McKean understood the alleged assault happened in a lift with someone from “the other side” – not the lawyer’s client.
“It’s highlighted generally that lawyers do need to be concerned about themselves.”
McKean said it was the first time they’d had a “really bad” incident and his thoughts were with the injured lawyer.
Police previously said they had taken a person into custody following the incident about 9.55am Thursday.
“Police responded to reports of a disorder at an address on Bank St and the individual was apprehended by Police at the location a short time later,” they said.
On Friday, police said a man would appear in Whangārei District Court charged with injuring with intent to injure in relation to the incident.
Ministry of Justice chief operating officer Carl Crafar said the alleged offender was immediately detained by court security before being arrested by the police.
The court was briefly locked down but had since reopened.
The Ministry of Justice would be working with the Law Society to investigate the incident, Crafar said.
“Our thoughts are with the lawyer, who is in a serious condition in hospital,” he said.