Body of Utah defense attorney recovered in Norway after waterfall accident

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 10.35.58Authorities have recovered the body of a well-known Utah defense attorney who fell down a Norway waterfall last month, one of his colleagues has confirmed.

Kent Hart was hiking and sightseeing with his family near Oslo on July 24 when he slipped and fell down a 750-foot waterfall, according to a report from the Utah Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, where Hart served as executive director.

Hart’s body was found Wednesday, said his boss Kathy Nester, the head federal public defender in the District of Utah.

Hart worked on a half-time basis as a public defender under Nester, she said, and dedicated the rest of his time to leading his defense lawyer association.

“He was very very committed to justice for all and making sure that no matter what your financial circumstances, you would get quality representation,” Nester told the Deseret News on Friday. “And he really dedicated his whole life to that. … This is such a great loss not only to the people who loved him, but the criminal justice system as a whole.”

The Utah Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is planning a golf tournament, dubbed “The Kent Hart Classic,” that will raise funds for the attorney’s family. The fundraiser will also set up a scholarship fund for a student studying parelegal studies “who exemplified Kent Hart’s work and dedication to criminal justice,” the organization said on its website.

The tournament will be held 1:30 p.m. Aug. 26 at The Ridge Golf Club in West Valley City, 5055 W. Westridge Boulevard.

Hart directed the defense lawyer group from 2009 until his death. In 2011, the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah honored him with the Mickey Duncan Award for his defending of civil rights. Hart was a graduate of the SJ Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah.

(ksl)