Wed, Jul 26, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Male lawyer shows up at court wearing a skirt

KIWI'S GENDER AGENDA Rob Moodie has vowed to wear women's clothes to work from now on in a protest aimed at New Zealand's male-dominated judiciary


A bald, mustachioed lawyer turned up at court wearing a skirt and blouse and toting a purse to protest about a lack of care and sensitivity among New Zealand's male-dominated judiciary, a newspaper reported yesterday.

Rob Moodie, 67, a former rugby player, pipe smoker and secretary of the police union, arrived at Wellington's High Court on Monday in a navy blue woman's suit complete with diamond brooch and lace-topped stockings over his hairy legs, the Dominion Post reported.

"I will now, as a lawyer, be wearing women's clothing," Moodie was quoted as saying.

He said he wants the court to address him as "Ms. Alice" -- and that his wife and three children support his protest.

His attire, he insisted, was meant to highlight the insensitive "old boys' network" of New Zealand's judiciary.

"My confidence in the male ethos is zilch. It's a culture of intimidation, authority, power and control," the high-profile lawyer said.

Moodie said that although he is heterosexual he was born with an innate understanding of the female gender.

"I prefer and relate to the gender which is involved in the creation and nurturing of life: giving, sharing and also, I believe, fairness," he told the Dominion Post.

Calls to Moodie's family home in the town of Feilding, about 165km north of the capital, Wellington, rang unanswered yesterday.

His protest was prompted by frustration over a long-running case involving a farming couple held responsible for a bridge built by the army on their land that collapsed, killing a beekeeper.

He told the newspaper that the "last straw" was last month's Court of Appeal ruling that ordered the couple -- who have already sold their farm to fund their legal efforts -- to pay the army NZ$10,000 (US$6,200) in costs.

On a practical note, Moodie said he was unsure which toilet he would be allowed to use at the court house.

"I call it a flash of lace at the urinal," he told the newspaper.

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