A Dunedin man was taken into custody for contempt of court during the South Canterbury Finance trial yesterday.
Following the afternoon adjournment Trevor Hay filed a habeas corpus application which has to be heard straight away by the court.
Habeas corpus is a writ requiring a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court, to secure the person's release, unless lawful grounds are shown for their detention. In latin habeas corpus means "you shall have the body [in court]".
Hay claimed he was being unlawfully detained because he could not lawfully go on to his land due to a decision made by the court.
Justice Paul Heath asked him if he had arrived at court of his own free will, to which he replied yes.
"Can you leave this court of your own free will?" The judge asked to which Hay also replied yes. "Well then you are not detained and this application is dismissed."
Hay did not accept the dismissal and continued to argue with the judge asking if he had heard of (the founding constitutional law document) the Magna Carta.
"You are not detained. You are free to go and if you do not you will be taken into custody for contempt of court," the judge warned.
Hay continued to argue and was taken into custody by the registrar and security guard.
Kerry Cook, who is part of Edward Sullivan's legal team, was asked to represent Hay, with the judge saying, "I have no desire to keep the man in custody any longer. Given where we are today, if he will simply leave that would suit me."
Hay was brought back before the court and apologised to the judge, stating that he was frustrated with the system.
"I accept your apology and you may go," the judge said.
- The Timaru Herald