Mystery illness strikes ‘Judge’ Paul Barber

THE ‘FORMER’ district court judge who chairs the Crown agency established six years ago to raise confidence in the real estate industry supposedly has a mystery illness which causes symptoms usually associated with winos.

The Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal has gone into damage control mode following Paul Barber’s extraordinary outburst in a media interview two months ago where it appeared he was heavily intoxicated.

The phone call followed allegations Barber had obtained the chairman’s position by deceit because he was not a barrister or solicitor at the time of his appointment – a requirement under legislation governing the Tribunal.

In that call, Barber was also confronted about why he continually referred to himself as a district court judge when he no longer had a legal right to do so.

In a follow-up phone call several weeks later seeking further answers about his irrational conduct and failure to respond to written media questions, the 78-year-old again appeared inebriated. He had slurred speech and could barely pronounce the word ‘registrar’.  

Such were the concerns that an appellant in one case dealt with by Barber and now the subject of ongoing legal action wrote to the Tribunal seeking to clarify whether the 78-year-old did in fact have a drinking problem.

The Tribunal responded by saying: “…We know that, due to illness, our chairman has a speech impediment which, over a telephone, might give the impression that he was inebriated.”

However, there are now questions about whether the Tribunal is being entirely truthful in its assessment of the now retired district court judge.

According to well-placed sources, the Tribunal has been asked to clarify what exactly Barber’s mystery condition is – and how it is being treated.

If in fact, there is no mystery illness there is a suggestion the Tribunal could face further legal action for making misleading and false statements.

To date, Barber has survived calls for him to be sacked and a review of all tribunal cases he has ruled on over the past four years.


cookStephen Cook is a multi award winning journalist and former news editor and assistant editor of the Herald on Sunday.


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