Megan is an experienced litigator with extensive jury trial experience, gained in 25 years of practice.
A former Crown Prosecutor, Megan joined the independent bar in 2018 and now specialises in criminal defence work. Armed with significant prosecution and defence experience, she is in an ideal position to advise clients who find themselves charged with serious crimes.
Megan is qualified to represent clients, both private and legally aided, up to life imprisonment (murder/manslaughter, dealing class A drugs).
Megan has been described by members of the judiciary as not only a “very able advocate” but as a “fearless” advocate for her clients in Court. At the same time Megan is known for her caring and compassionate approach. She demonstrates a particular ability in representing clients with special needs and mental health difficulties.
Megan began her career prosecuting for the Crown in the Rotorua region where, in her first 3.5 years of practice, she conducted 38 jury trials as sole counsel in the District Court. She conducted her first High Court jury trial as sole counsel at the age of 27.
Megan spent 10 years practising in England & Wales, gaining broad commercial litigation experience acting for corporations, financial institutions and high net worth individuals.
Returning to New Zealand in 2010, Megan was able to refocus her energy on her original passion, the criminal justice system. She prosecuted for the Crown in Whanganui for a number of years, and continues to conduct trials and hearings before Judges and juries in both the High and District Courts as defence counsel.
Megan appears regularly as counsel both on appeals and before the Parole Board. She also has experience appearing as counsel in the Youth Court and in the Family Court.
Megan works out of Market Chambers in Whanganui. She is supported in her Whanganui chambers by her Associate, Nicola Refoy-Butler, and by her PA/Office Manager Mandy Gedye.
Practice areas: Criminal law; Regulatory
Qualifications and appointments
LLB, BA (Psychology), University of Otago, 1995
Admitted as Barrister and Solicitor of High Court of New Zealand, 1996
Admitted to the Roll of Solicitors of the Supreme Court of England and Wales, 2003
Appointed as a Solicitor Advocate, England and Wales, 2004
Higher Courts (All Proceedings) Qualification – able to appear as solicitor advocate in civil and criminal courts
Legal Aid Provider New Zealand – criminal provider approval levels PAL 1 – 4
Limited approval to provide legal aid services in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court
Senior panel member, Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care
Member, New Zealand Criminal Bar Association
Member, New Zealand Bar Association | Ngā Ahorangi Motuhake o te Ture
Below is a selection of Megan’s more interesting and recent jury trial cases:
Serious crime – murder, GBH, violence (including intimate partner violence)
- Co-counsel acting for a gang president, one of five defendants facing charges of murder, wounding with intent to cause GBH, kidnapping x2 and participation in an organised criminal group. Longest running jury trial (12 weeks, Feb-May 2021) in the Palmerston North High Court.
- Defence of a man facing a total of 19 charges, including domestic violence (various assaults, threatening to kill), blackmail, burglary, dangerous driving x3, causing harm by posting harmful digital communication.
- Defence of a female defendant charged with stabbing her partner with a large carving knife (wounding with intent to cause GBH), puncturing a lung.
- Defence of a defendant charged with multiple charges of strangulation and other domestic violence charges, against two female victims with whom he was in a relationship at the same time. July 2021.
- Defence of a defendant in his early 20s, facing numerous charges of domestic violence as well as kidnapping. Found not guilty on all charges at trial, apart from one minor (threatened) assault. July 2021.
Cases involving those in positions of authority, including members of the military
- Prosecution of a police officer for dangerous driving causing injury x2, after he T-boned another vehicle at an intersection while responding to a 111 call. Found guilty at trial.
- Prosecution of two soldiers for endangering transport (14 year maximum penalty) by intentionally discharging a firearm at a civilian vehicle whilst driving, causing tyre to deflate.
- Defence of a school principal for attempting to pervert the course of justice. Found not guilty at trial
- Defence of a medical practitioner facing charges of injuring with intent to injure and attempting to pervert the course of justice. Associated representation on employment and other issues he was facing with the Medical Council and local DHB.
Sexual offences, especially involving historical abuse, minors and members of the military
- Prosecution of one of the oldest historical sexual abuse cases in NZ. Offending from the 1950s & 1960s, including rape and indecent assault charges brought under the 1908 Crimes Act, when the victim/defendant’s daughter was aged 5 to 14 years.
- Representing a defendant charged with sexual abuse of four young family members (two stepdaughters and a niece aged 13-14, and a grandson age 9) over a significant period of time. Charges included sexual violation and indecent assault.
- Prosecution of an army officer (Warrant Officer 1st class) for sexual violation, rape and indecent assault of his friend’s 12 year old daughter.
- Prosecution of two male soldiers for sexual violation (x3) and indecent assault (x3) of an adult female in a unimog on the Waiouru army base.
- Defence of a 17 year old boy, diagnosed as both ADHD and on the autism spectrum, for indecent assault on a boy age 12. Following a guilty plea, he was discharged without conviction.
- Prosecution of a Fijian-Indian for attempted rape and indecent assault of a male co-worker of the same nationality, both based in NZ. Translators used throughout trial. Found guilty at trial.
- Prosecution of a 55 year old man for rape, sexual violation (x2) & indecent assault (x3) of a 15 year old teenager with special needs (mental age of 3.5 years). Found guilty at trial.
- Prosecution of a 57 year old man, facing a representative charge of sexual violation by rape of a 16 year old girl. Found guilty at trial.
- Defence of a 20 year old male defendant facing 8 charges of sexual and domestic violence offending including sexual violation by rape & digital penetration, and injuring with reckless disregard. Not guilty verdicts on all charges at trial.
- Defence of a man in his 30s, charged (as a member of a drug syndicate) with dealing significant quantities of the class A drug methamphetamine as well as other controlled drugs. Section 147 application to discharge the defendant granted on a charge of participation in an organised criminal group.
- Numerous other cases involving importation, dealing and possession of class A, B & C drugs for supply. Recent (July 2021) representation of defendant charged with cultivation of cannabis with an estimated value of $85k. Found not guilty at trial.