Supreme Court dismisses application to appeal

The Supreme Court has dismissed an application by a Marlborough dairy farmer to appeal a court decision for the second time.

Two of Philip Woolley's four convictions for digging a drainage channel into a Rarangi Department of Conservation wetland were quashed by the Appeal Court in May.

He has since sought leave to appeal the two convictions upheld by the court, of depositing soil and vegetation on the bed of a river, and disturbing the bed of a river.

Woolley was first convicted of the charges in June last year, and was sentenced to two months' home detention and ordered to pay $38,253 reparations for the wetland in September.

An appeal of the sentence was also dismissed by the Appeal Court in May.

The Supreme Court decision by Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias, Justice William Young and Justice Terence Arnold, released yesterday, said there had been no application to produce further evidence to the case.

Woolley's lawyer David Clark argued during the trial that his client's actions were permitted under the Marlborough District Council's Wairau/Awatere Resource Management Plan.

The plan said maintenance of existing drainage channels on such land was a permitted use and therefore meant Woolley's actions were permitted, he argued. The argument was rejected by both the District Court and the Court of Appeal.

"In the case of both counts there were findings by the trial judge that what happened went beyond what could be regarded as collateral to the maintenance of the channel," the decision said.

The absence of any new evidence meant there was "nothing in the material which would warrant leave to appeal", it said.

A further application by Woolley to appeal his sentence again was also dismissed in the Supreme Court decision. "We see no appearance of a miscarriage of justice," it said.

The Marlborough Express