The Judiciary was facing calls for an inquiry last night after a District Court judge accused two fellow judges and the New Zealand Government of 'political interference' in an ongoing case. The claims are contained in signed statements made by two senior Legal Department lawyers, Ian McWalters and John Reading, who were separately approached at their Peak homes by Judge Brian Caird at the weekend. They say Judge Caird accused the judges - who cannot be named for legal reasons - of trying to influence him in a case involving an alleged fraudster, New Zealand immigration consultant Aaron Nattrass. In a statement marked 'confidential', Mr Reading says Judge Caird told him he had been approached by a fellow judge, who said the New Zealand Consulate had informed another judge that Nattrass was guilty. 'It was obvious that the judge [Caird] was very upset, and commented that this was the first time in his judicial career that political pressure had been brought to bear on him,' Mr Reading says in his statement. But in open court yesterday, after a newspaper report of the allegations, Judge Caird denied he had been subjected to any pressure, political or otherwise, and said he did not feel he needed to act on 'gossip'. His denial capped a dramatic day in District Court No 22 with the Director of Public Prosecutions, Peter Nguyen QC, making a surprise appearance in the public gallery. Despite the allegations, all parties decided to carry on with the case. 'I hope it won't affect the Hong Kong judicial system,' Mr Nguyen said. Asked what he was going to do about it, he replied: 'Nothing.' Contacted in his chambers yesterday, one of the judges denied he had exerted political pressure. The other did not return calls from the Post. New Zealand Acting Consul-General Kevin Kay denied the claims. 'The short answer to that is it's absolute nonsense, it's completely untrue that there has been interference or an attempt to influence Judge Caird in his decision.' Judge Caird declined to comment last night except to say: 'I don't want to be drawn into anything further.' Legislative Councillor James To Kun-sun called on Chief Justice Sir Ti Liang Yang to mount a full and urgent inquiry. 'It is fundamental to the survival of Hong Kong,' Mr To said. 'It affects the rule of law and the independence of the Judiciary. 'If the Chief Justice or the Governor does not . . . conduct an inquiry, it will be the end of Hong Kong,' he said, adding that the Legislative Council might also launch an inquiry. Lawyer and legislator Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee backed the call. 'This has to be taken very seriously. The Chief Justice must guard the independence of the Judiciary very jealously indeed. The public must be very, very concerned.' The Chief Justice told his spokesman, Lam Yuk-ling, to refuse to comment as the case was continuing. The statements from the Legal Department lawyers summarise conversations they had separately with their Mansfield Road neighbour Judge Caird. 'When I saw the judge he was sitting on the sofa in the room, grasping the Sunday Morning Post, ' says Mr Reading. 'He claimed that Judge [name removed] had approached him and said that the New Zealand Commission had informed Judge [name removed] that Nattrass was guilty. 'Judge Caird considered that this was a deliberate attempt by the New Zealand authorities to influence him in his decision of the case. 'He said that he was so annoyed, and he felt inclined not to return to New Zealand when he did eventually retire.' Mr McWalters said Judge Caird came to his flat on Saturday and accepted an offer of a whisky and water. 'He commenced the conversation by saying that never before had he encountered the kind of pressure in a case that he was now receiving from the Crown. 'He seemed to feel that Judge [name removed] was being used by the New Zealand Immigration Service to influence him. He suggested he should approach the Chief Justice and I agreed with him.' Later in the statement, Mr McWalters says: 'What he did reveal of his view was that he was becoming increasingly sceptical of the New Zealand Immigration Service, and formed positively adverse conclusions about them. This was my impression from his general comments. I got the impression that Judge Caird . . . appreciated the significance of his approach to me.' Mr McWalters said he discussed with Judge Caird what to do about the case and they agreed that the prosecutor would report the matter to Mr Nguyen. Mr McWalters and Mr Reading both said they felt uncomfortable about the judge approaching them.