Sunday, October 20, 2013

Greg King - some of the things he taught us.

One of them was to look deeper. He was an engaging showman in some respects, he could entertain, held humour and sharp insight in a most polite way. If kiwi speech is the key to opening doors his revelation that he was 'canvas kisser' during his amateur boxing career invited him into a nations heart. Self-depreciating, while holding a royal flush at the card table. That winning poker hand was a razor sharp intellect, a masquerade of drifting from character to character, reading the subtleties of life as though from a written page in order to chart a passage into a new world.

It seems to me that Greg King was an adventurer, looking forward so as to see how things might be made better, how understanding could prevail and open doors. Like all adventurers he was perhaps looking for himself, who he was and where he was going. Greg King was among the best lawyers in New Zealand, of anytime it seems to be in broad opinion. I think the Law excited and frustrated Greg by turn. His was the ultimate challenge, a duel of the intellect to oppose the resources of the Crown and give his clients what the Law decrees they must have - a fair trial. It's been noted elsewhere, even in recent days how many New Zealanders confuse the role of defence Lawyers, in fact have an almost middle ages view that there is no difference between an accused and his or her advocate. That in fact if the advocate was any good, or moral, they wouldn't be defending criminals - taken to its natural conclusion no one accused of a crime would be innocent and no trials would be needed.

I think that is the reason, or at least part of it, why Greg reached out to the victims of Crime to help break down the type of thinking where some of the public 'hate' the lawyer that got someone 'off' that the hater 'knew' was guilty, and therefore the Lawyer must have known was guilty as well. Fairly tough task for a compassionate man to have to deal with. A man apparently always able to appreciate the human nature in the most reviled of people and unafraid to reveal so in order to also foster wider understanding.Taken from another view, Greg King, doing 'his job' against all criticism was a very strong person. He showed that strength by doing his best for clients and by not becoming bitter or nasty toward the 'magical' few in society who some how 'know' how events took place without being there. Difficult task.

By now we at least see another of the sides of Greg's character, his complexity and by turn simple view toward others. He was a benevolent man toward others, despite what inner feelings he might have had. It could be said he 'hid' some of feelings behind the complexity of characters he played and was to various people. Greg was dying of cancer, either in the shorter or longer term despite having the life he undoubtedly loved, along with a family he loved. For all that has been written or spoken about in recent days in respect of what has been revealed of Greg's suicide note, it has focused on his revelations that the was 'haunted' by the dead. Very easy to forget, when considering that claim, that Greg was depressed - yet hard for me to consider the comments as super imposing themselves over a man realising he was perhaps at death's door and soon to depart from his family, a family he may have been unable to bear the thought that they would see him suffer as they suffered too.

In those feelings Greg King would not have stood apart from few other New Zealanders, realising toward the end that things loved or cherished were family and kindness above all else. He may have been a great Lawyer, a defender of the apparently indefensible, someone willing and able to take on cases where he considered a person truly innocent and the victim, or potential victim of an injustice - but he was as he admitted, a 'canvas kisser.' I don't recall having heard the self-depreciating term before Greg used it, that despite all it's potential humorous nuances belied a fighter of great strength. A man it seems who, faced with his own personal and final battle, was unable to bear the thought of what would be his greatest loss, that of his wife, daughter and wider family.

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