7 November 2005
Crown solicitors appointed
Attorney-General David Parker today announced the appointment of Crown Solicitors at Gisborne, Invercargill and Rotorua.
Russell John Collins has been appointed as Crown Solicitor at Gisborne, Mary-Jane Thomas as Crown Solicitor at
Invercargill and Fletcher Pilditch as Crown Solicitor at Rotorua.
Mr Collins was admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor in 1988, initially joining the firm Bate Hallett. In 1993 he joined
the firm Elvidge and Partners and became a partner in that firm in 1996. Elvidge and Partners have held the Crown
Solicitor warrant in Napier since 1987, Mr Collins holding the warrant since 2002.
Mr Collins has significant criminal and civil litigation experience. He will hold the warrant as Crown Solicitor for
Gisborne as well as the warrant as Crown Solicitor for Napier. The Attorney-General has asked Mr Collins to facilitate
the development of prosecutorial capacity in Gisborne.
Mr Collins has a number of interests outside of the law and has associations with both swimming and lifeguard
associations and has been a Trustee of the Eastern and Central Community Trust since 2001.
Ms Thomas graduated from Otago University in 1989 and joined the Dunedin law firm Anderson Lloyd (as it was then). Ms
Thomas joined Preston Russell Law in Invercargill in 1991 and became a partner in that firm in 1995.
In 1996 Ms Thomas joined the Crown Law Office as Crown Counsel in the Criminal Team, returning to Invercargill in 2002
and partnership at Preston Russell Law.
Ms Thomas has extensive criminal litigation experience along with employment law and arbitration experience. She has
assisted in detective training courses and has lectured on provocation and the prosecution of sexual offending. Ms
Thomas is the first woman to be appointed a Crown Solicitor outside the Crown Law Office.
Mr Pilditch graduated from Victoria University in 1995 and spent two years working in the United Kingdom before joining
the Rotorua Crown Solicitor’s firm of Davys Burton in 1998. In 2001 Mr Pilditch joined the Auckland law firm Meredith
Connell and has been an Associate in that firm since 2004. Mr Pilditch is also a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme
Court of the Pitcairn Islands.
Mr Pilditch has extensive litigation experience including matters in relation to extradition. He will establish a new
firm in Rotorua to house the warrant. Mr Pilditch has a number of interests outside of the law and is a Trustee and
Acting Chairman of the Te Awa Charitable Trust, has associations with tennis and other sports, and also with the St
Johns Ambulance Association.