Court throws out fraudster's appeal
Notorious fraudster and conman Loizos Michaels has had his appeal against conviction dismissed.
Cypriot-born Michaels' schemes, including duping All Black legend Jonah Lomu and extracting hundreds of thousands of dollars out of National Party president Peter Goodfellow, saw him convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison in 2012.
Michaels had gone to the Court of Appeal seeking to have his conviction for more than $3 million of fraud overturned, or the length of his sentence reduced, especially a three-year and nine-month minimum non-parole period.
Justices Rhys Harrison, Ronald Young and Simon France characterised Michaels' schemes as an "elaborate hoax" and a "sustained, ever-developing, con".
At his trial in the Auckland District Court, Michaels had relied on wild claims of a giant conspiracy for his defence, the Court of Appeal noted. It said this was a difficult line to pursue.
"It was on its face an unlikely explanation which needed buttressing by allegations of a grand scale conspiracy by the Serious Fraud Office in which not only its officers, but a large pool of witnesses were complicit," the judgment said.
Michaels claimed his lawyer, Peter Kaye, was riven by conflicts and had provided him an inadequate defence.
To support this claim Michaels submitted that Kaye's daughter, Nikki Kaye, was a National Party MP and this created a conflict given Goodfellow was a witness for the Crown. The Court of Appeal rejected this argument, along with others claiming Kaye failed to call witnesses and was insufficiently prepared.
The Court of Appeal also rejected claims the sentence was excessive. "The sustained level of creative endeavour marks this case out and also suggests Michaels presents a significant ongoing risk. He is plainly capable of fooling people and exhibits no remorse," the judgment said.