The judge presiding over the High Court murder trial of David Bain says he has no knowledge of any contact with an author who acknowledged him in a book about the Bain case.
In the 1997 book, The Mask of Sanity,(David Ling Publishing) by James McNeish, Justice Panckhurst is listed among the names of those acknowledged for their assistance in the book.
After queries by media and the Ministry of Justice, Mr McNeish has stated through his lawyer that he had "no recollection of what contribution Justice Panckhurst, as he is now, made to my research".
"I do not even recall what the man looks like, which suggest to me that we did not meet. It may have been a phone call or something quite minor, otherwise I believe I would remember it."
Mr McNeish said he had accepted the advice of his lawyer not to discuss the matter with anyone.
In the High Court in Christchurch yesterday, Justice Panckhurst said he had no knowledge of any contact with Mr McNeish or any information he could have passed on to him.
Bain's lawyer, Michael Reed, QC, told the court he accepted the judge's explanation "without any reservation whatsoever".
"It's just a pity from David's point of view that it doesn't excuse the possibility that you may have forgotten something, and it's just a matter that McNeish could have resolved it, and said he's made a mistake, there was no communication, end of story. "Why on earth he won't do that, I don't know."
Justice Panckhurst allowed the media to report the remarks in court.