Barry Hart's car auction hits skids

MATT NIPPERT
Last updated 05:00 26/09/2012

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The sale of disgraced barrister Barry Hart's repossessed collection of luxury cars could be derailed after a disgruntled former client claimed he had been pledged them over a $150,000 debt.

The collection, including a 2011 Ferrari California with only 349km on the clock which is expected to fetch at least $250,000, and a 2002 DB7 Aston Martin, has a colourful history.

Also for sale are Hart's 1958 Wolsely, understood to have formerly served as a police car, and a 1969 MG.

Fairfax Media understands the Aston Martin convertible was given to Hart by notorious property developer Mark Lyon in 2007 as payment for the barrister defending him at one of his numerous court appearances.

The auction of Hart's cars, due to take place at Turner's Penrose in Auckland at noon on Saturday, comes after GE Finance repossessed the vehicles last month.

Hart was struck off earlier this month after the New Zealand Law Society found him guilty of professional misconduct in grossly overcharging his clients.

He has appealed the ruling.

But GE's efforts to claw back debts by Hart and his companies, understood to total $684,000, have hit a snag with another client of the barrister claiming three of the vehicles had been promised to him to settle a $150,000 debt.

Security statements were filed in June by Martin Mailley over the Aston Martin, MG and Wolsey.

Mailley said the registrations followed a four-year battle with Hart in relation to overcharging.

Mailley said a settlement was reached in March whereby his complaint to the Law Society was withdrawn providing Hart paid $150,000.

"He signed an agreement to pay cash, and that was to be paid immediately earlier this year. He failed to do that. Then he pledged all these vehicles to me - then I noticed finance on GE," Mailley said.

Hart did not return calls.

Tony O'Neill, of Credit Management Australasia who is working for Mailley, said the Turner's sale would be disputed.

"GE approached us and said 'we want to remove your securities'. We said 'no'. If GE want the security removed, they're going to have to seek a High Court order," O'Neill said.

A spokewoman for GE Finance said they were unable to comment on the loans to Hart or the car sale.

A 1996 softail Harley Davidson pledged to both GE and Mailley is also advertised for sale by Turner's.

GE financing statements portray Hart as something of a car fanatic - he's owned at least 10 vehicles at any one time, including three Porsche Cayenne's, two Toyota Hilux's and a Volkswagen Passat.

Yesterday Hart appeared again at the High Court in Auckland arguing for an extension to appeal the Law Society's finding against him and also for permission to continue practicing until the appeal was heard.

Hart submitted that he needed to keep working or it would have the effect of ending his career and would also have consequences on the clients he was representing.

The Law Society opposed his return to work as the ruling had found a pattern of offending.

"The concern is there may be further members of the public hurt and prejudiced in the interim," it submitted.

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Judge Graham Lang reserved his decision on Hart's immediate future.

Hart's full appeal will be heard on December 10.

- Auckland Now

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