Brendan Horsley, Deputy Solicitor General (Criminal) since April 2014 has a significant role after serving as the first director of the Public Defence Service (PDS), whose development and growth he oversaw as its first National Director. The PDS expanded from it initial 50 lawyers to around 140 today, the largest grouping of criminal lawyers in the country.
Considered a potential contender for the top job in the office following Michael Heron QC, Horsley is a Wellington boy who started his legal career in Gisborne, where he started with Burnard Bull, Brendan Horsley he cut his teeth in the civil service with the Commerce Commission handling various quasi-criminal and criminal prosecutions before joining Crown Law in 2001.
His current role sees him signing off on appellate work undertaken by the Crown, including deciding whether Crown Law will agree to mutual assistance requests and other statutory functions. The increased role of the Public Prosecutions Unit and increasing the overall government legal network provides him with significant influence over the way prosecutions and Crown legal work is handled across multiple departments and agencies.
He attracted public attention before the High Court when he had to defend the Crown’s breach of journalist Nicky Hager’s rights during a search of Hager’s home when a document found in the home was emailed to the police.