King case handling appeal rejected

Last updated 05:00 03/05/2014

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A man who made false claims that late top lawyer Greg King had overcharged on legal aid for his trial has had his sentence of preventive detention quashed.

Peter John Hartley, had been found guilty on 18 charges of sexual offending against teenagers and one of making an intimate visual recording between 1997 and 2008.

Greg King, who was found dead in November 2012 after taking his own life, had represented Hartley at trial until shortly before his sentencing.

Part of Hartley’s appeal was that King had been embellishing the actual hours spent on his defence.

He complained to the Justice Ministry who investigated and were told by their advisor that the hours claimed did not appear excessive for a lengthy and complex trial.  The case was not investigated further due to King’s death.

King himself had made notes about a conversation with Hartley where he told him the allegations were up for negotiation and that if King would agree he was underprepared for trial and to ask for an adjournment then Hartley would rip up the allegations.

Hartley told King he did not want to tarnish his reputation but he was desperate.

The Court of Appeal today said there was no substance in Hartley’s allegations and it reflected badly on his integrity and his claims regarding his lawyer’s conduct.

The Court also rejected all of Hartley’s other grounds of appeal criticising King’s handling of the case including that King had failed to call some defence witnesses and failed to adequately cross-examine others.

However the Court did say the point had not yet been reached that preventive detention was the appropriate sentence as Hartley was capable of change and had an incentive to accept responsibility for what he had done.

The Court imposed a 14 year jail term with a seven year minimum non parole period.

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- The Dominion Post

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