'Inhumane' for cancer sufferer to stand trial

Last updated 07:27 22/08/2014

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Forcing a cancer sufferer to stand trial on Serious Fraud Office charges alleged to involve more than $4 million would be inhumane, their lawyer says.

Most of the medical details were suppressed but the defendant's lawyer, Helen Cull, QC, asked for the charges to be stopped, or at least delayed, because of the physical and mental effects of the cancer and its treatment.

The person's identity was also suppressed. They are charged with being party to another person corruptly receiving or attempting to receive payments, being party to another person obtaining money by deceit, and dishonestly using tax returns.

The defendant was not in the High Court at Wellington for the hearing of the application yesterday relating to eight charges.

Justice David Collins was told the defendant had stage four cancer and was having intravenous chemotherapy.

This was due to continue during what was expected to be an eight-week trial with two other defendants, starting in October before a judge alone.

Collins said his decision on whether to delay hearing the charges or permanently stop them would not be given before the end of next week. His decision could have consequences for the other two defendants, he said.

Cull said to make the defendant stand trial would be inhumane. The trial would not be fair when the ability to concentrate and deal with detail was seriously affected, she said.

Prosecutor Dale La Hood did not want the charges stopped. Given their nature, it would be better to see if the defendant could face the rigours of a trial later.

The two sides disagreed about the complexity of the issues involved in the trial.

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