Judge ponders decision on Hart's bankruptcy

WILLIAM MACE
Last updated 05:00 14/12/2012
Barry Hart
PHIL DOYLE/ Fairfax NZ
STRUCK OFF: Barry Hart.

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A decision on whether former top criminal lawyer Barry Hart will be adjudicated bankrupt has been delayed until this afternoon.

Associate Judge Hannah Sargisson finished hearing arguments from lawyers for both Hart and ANZ Bank yesterday but decided to consider her decision overnight.

Sargisson needs to decide whether to grant Hart's application for an adjournment of the bankruptcy proceedings until March.

Hart has been fighting an attempt by ANZ Bank to make him bankrupt in the High Court at Auckland over what was initially about $30 million worth of debt.

He has opposed the sale of his eight rural properties, north of Auckland, which were security for the loans with ANZ by arguing that the bank mishandled the sale of the properties and did not get the best price for them.

But after being knocked back on that argument by the High Court, Hart took his fight to the Court of Appeal and wanted the bankruptcy proceedings to wait while that matter was decided next March.

Hart's lawyer, Jeremy Bioletti, told the High Court yesterday that Hart might be able to pay his debts with any potential damages he is awarded on appeal.

However, Sargisson said she was not of a mind to adjourn the bankruptcy application unless Hart's lawyer could show there was potential for him to pay the substantial debt in the future.

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