A former Far North mayoral candidate, serving a 24-year jail term for sex and violence charges, has lost his battle to keep his farm.
Allan John Titford was found guilty on 39 charges after a four-week trial at the High Court in Whangarei last year and in a recently-released decision the High Court again ruled against him on a civil matter.
In 1999, Titford set up the Mengha Trust with one of the primary beneficiaries being his wife Susan Cochrane.
The prime asset of the trust was an Awanui farm, a 230-hectare property 13 kilometres north of Kaitaia, which was bought in 2002.
When Titford was arrested in 2010, bail conditions meant he had to leave Northland and the condition of the farm deteriorated.
The High Court heard from Gina Tarasiewicz, a director and shareholder of Mengha Trustees and Titford's former accountant, that the farm owed $70,000 in rates arrears and had to pay $200,000 to comply with obligations under the Resource Management Act.
Tarasiewicz and Cochrane had an offer from a potential buyer who was willing to pay $2.21 million for the farm but could not proceed without Titford's agreement. That had not been given.
Titford told the court the property was actually worth $6.8m and said mismanagement had led to its problems and the subsequent "fire-sale" price.
Titford said the farm could be converted to a beef unit, which would alleviate financial pressures but Justice Graham Lang considered the proposal was unrealistic.
The judge removed Titford's power as a trustee and authorised the Mengha Trustees to proceed with the sale.
Justice Lang ruled the funds raised be used to pay off outstanding debts with the balance held pending further orders from the court.
Titford has seven children with Cochrane, who was bankrupt between 2007 and 2010.
At her husband's sentencing she told the court he had kept her as "a sex slave" for 22 years.
Titford will be eligible for parole in eight years.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Do you think New Zealand should open the door to genetic modification in agriculture?Related story: GM in NZ on farming leaders' agenda