Lawyer Barry Hart faces bankruptcy

REBECCA STEVENSON
Last updated 17:45 01/11/2012

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Former top criminal lawyer Barry Hart faces bankruptcy and must leave his home after his quest for damages from ANZ failed.

Hart was struck off the roll of barristers and solicitors in September after he was found guilty of professional misconduct. 

He opposed the sale of eight rural properties north of Auckland which were security for loans with the ANZ totalling about $30 million. Seven of those properties were sold by the bank through mortgagee sales after the loans got into arrears.

Only the house Hart lives in is still unsold.

Hart argued that the bank mishandled the sale of the properties and didn't get the best price, for which he sought damages through the High Court at Auckland. He sought separate damages on the basis the bank had refused to give him the stated amount necessary to redeem the mortgage over the home he and his wife share. 

Hart also claimed he shouldn't have to leave the property as it was subject to both a lease and residential tenancy agreement.

ANZ counterclaimed for a summary judgment against Hart for the money owed and for Hart to leave his home so it can be sold.

Associate Judge David Abbott found in a written judgement handed down late today that Hart did not have an arguable case for his claim.

He found ANZ had not mishandled the sale of the properties and that ANZ only had to show reasonable care had been taken to obtain the best price.

The Associate Judge said in his judgement the sum required to satisfy the debt over Hart's home was ''the total indebtness''. Hart did not tender that sum, which was in excess of $31 million.

The Tenancy Tribunal ruled there was no residential tenancy agreement in place in relation to Hart's home and the disgraced lawyer did not produce any evidence of a lease over the property, the judge said.

For these reasons ANZ was entitled to vacant possession of Hart's house ''which must be provided within 10 days following service of this order on Mr Hart''.

Hart was found liable for a loan valued at $20,543,951.92 and his companies Woodhill Stud and Woodhill Holdings liable for loans worth $16,170,727.11.

Hart and the Woodhill companies are also liable to pay interest of five per cent per annum on those loans until repaid.

Associate Judge Abbott awarded ANZ costs to be determined.

Hart's attempt to dismiss a bankruptcy application by the bank also failed.

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