Associate High Court Judge Kenneth Johnston KC has been appointed as the next Chairperson of the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA), Justice Minister Kiri Allan announced today.
Judge Johnston takes up his appointment on 1 May and will replace Judge Colin Doherty who is standing down after five and a half years in the role.
“Judge Johnston not only brings the acumen of a senior judge to the role, but also broad experience in governance, investigatory, disciplinary and criminal work. I’m confident Judge Johnston is admirably equipped for this demanding role,” Allan said.
The IPCA’s function is to investigate complaints alleging any misconduct or neglect of duty by a member of the Police, or concerning any practice, policy, or procedure of the Police affecting the complainant.
The Authority is also responsible for investigating any incident involving serious bodily harm or death notified to the Authority by the Commissioner of Police.
Associate Judge Johnston was appointed to the High Court Bench in early 2018. He has broad experience in criminal work, as both a prosecutor and defence counsel in jury and appellate trials, and in civil work, including general civil and commercial litigation, trusts and estates, construction, employment, family and professional disciplinary litigation.
He also formerly held the positions of chair of the Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal and deputy chair of the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal.
“I want to recognise the out-going Chairperson Judge Doherty who chaired the IPCA since August 2017. Judge Doherty has led the organisation during a period of change and increasing workload which has seen its operational model evolve through his agile leadership,” Allan said.
“Judge Doherty did not seek reappointment for a further term but agreed to continue in office to oversee the completion several high-profile investigations including the investigation into the policing of the protests at Parliament in 2022. This is a testament to his dedication to the role and I would like to thank him for his years of service.”