Three Auckland Barristers have joined forces to set up an office specialising in criminal cases.

Lorraine Smith and Michele Wilkinson-Smith successfully defended double murder accused Chris Kahui in 2008. Was the result good luck or the start of a winning formula?

Since 2008 they have worked on another 6 murder trials with 6 not guilty verdicts on murder.

Dubbed the “dream team” by their Prosecuting opponents, their results are something of a record.

When asked about the formula for the success, Lorraine and Michele say that it starts with many months of careful preparation. They are assisted by private investigators who go beyond the police investigation. Both lawyers have a close working relationship with scientific experts both in New Zealand and internationally.

Once the trial begins there are fresh challenges including selecting a jury who will be receptive to the defence point of view, refining defence evidence, preparing thorough cross-examination of witnesses and finally persuading a jury to find their client not guilty.

What happens in court is just the tip of iceberg. The months of preparation before the trial requires a team effort.

This winning formula is not restricted to murder trials. All three senior barristers have recent success with complete acquittals on charges of sexual assaults both recent and historical allegations, drugs cases, wounding, and robbery cases.

However, it is homicide cases which present the greatest challenge and rewards.

The in-Court partnership of Lorraine and Michele are now combining their offices to launch new Barristers Chambers. (Barristers offices have been traditionally call “Chambers”).

After 30 years as a Barrister and Solicitor Lorraine has moved to the Bar as a Barrister.

Before the Kahui trial Lorraine worked on a number of prominent cases giving a voice to the underprivileged or unrepresented sectors of society.  This included 2 appearances in London at the Privy Council and the Oakley Hospital inquiry into the death of a mentally unwell prisoner which resulted in 93 recommendations being made and better treatment for the mentally unwell.