The New Zealand Order of Merit awarded to former Central Hawke’s Bay mayor and struck-off lawyer Hugh Hamilton has been voided.
“The Queen has directed that the appointment of Hugh Edward Staples Hamilton to be a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, dated 2 June 1997, shall be cancelled and annulled, and that his name shall be erased from the Register of the said Order,” a notice in the New Zealand Gazette said last month.
The rare move by the government was made more than four years after Hamilton was found guilty of theft by a person in a special relationship. He was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison.
Hamilton earlier admitted charges of misconduct brought by the New Zealand Law Society. In 2013, the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal ordered that Hamilton be struck off the roll of barristers and solicitors.
The government’s Honours Unit only became aware of the former lawyer’s conviction “relatively recently,” Michael Webster, secretary and registrar of the New Zealand Order of Merit, told Stuff.
Hamilton was Central Hawke’s Bay mayor from 1989 to 1995. He was awarded the Order of Merit for services to the community.