Guy Hallwright goes to ERA over dismissal

WILLIAM MACE
Last updated 17:44 18/12/2012

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Former Forsyth Barr research analyst Guy Hallwright who was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm after a road rage incident is fighting his former employer for reinstatement.

In August, Hallwright was sentenced to 250 hours community work, disqualified from driving for 18 months and ordered to pay victim Sung Jin Kim $20,000 reparation after a jury found he unintentionally ran Kim down with his car.

Kim has had several operations since the incident took place, just over two years ago, and said his work and family life had suffered.

It was then reported a month later that Hallwright had left Forsyth Barr but the company would not specify whether he had resigned or was fired.

At an Employment Relations Authority hearing in Auckland today it was revealed that Hallwright did not leave of his own accord but was handed an envelope at his desk by the company's chief operating officer which informed him he had been dismissed.

Hallwright's lawyer Kathryn Beck has been questioning Forsyth Barr's managing director Neil Paviour-Smith about the circumstances that led to his dismissal.

Paviour-Smith said the letter should not have come as a surprise to Hallwright given he had been through a disciplinary process after his conviction, and had been privy to the drafts of such letters via email.

He said Hallwright's conviction had hurt Forsyth Barr's reputation, based on evidence from staff and clients, and believed both his and the company's credibility with the media and the public had been undermined.

''Everything that we did points to a carefully considered process. I think we were very fair and reasonable to Guy right through the whole two year period... I didn't form any predisposed views as to where this would all end up.''

Hallwright accepts that his own reputation was hurt by the conviction but believes it did not impair his ability to do his job and he should be reinstated.

The hearing continues tomorrow.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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