Bankrupt who owes elderly millions too ill for trial

BLAIR ENSOR AND SIMON DAY
Last updated 05:00 21/08/2014
Gary William Campbell

BACK IN NEW ZEALAND: Gary William Campbell

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A former police inspector who fled the country and avoided arrest has had charges against him dropped because he is too unwell to face prosecution.

Gary William Campbell faced three charges after the Christchurch retirement village he owned, Crossdale Courts, went bust owing millions of dollars in 2008.

Yesterday, the Auckland District Court heard several psychiatric reports had found Campbell's dementia ruled him unable to instruct counsel and therefore unfit to face the charges. He is now in full-time care in Christchurch.

Should Campbell's position change, the charges could be resurrected.

An investigation by The Press this year revealed Campbell fled New Zealand in June 2008 leaving 24 elderly residents facing eviction. Two months later, he declared himself bankrupt from Brisbane, Australia.

A warrant was issued for his arrest in January 2009 after he refused to return home to appear in court in relation to his dealings with Crossdale.

Over the past five years the residents, who each paid Campbell up to $120,000 for the right to occupy the units until death, were evicted one by one.

Campbell returned to New Zealand in June after a warrant for his arrest was withdrawn.

He has never apologised to the pensioners.

Verna Veint and Joan Leeson were forced into new accommodation in May.

"It's disgusting that it [the charges] can be withdrawn because of him being too sick," Veint said yesterday.

"He's done so much harm to so many people."

Debbie Scott, whose mother Valerie McBride, 82, was evicted from Crossdale, said it was "sad and unjust" that Campbell would never be held accountable.

"He knew exactly what he was doing . . . He's changed their lives forever and that's something that can't be put right now."

Campbell entered into contracts with the Crossdale residents who paid him interest-free loans for the licence to occupy the units until death. Campbell promised to repay their loans, less 5 per cent, when they vacated or died.

The Ministry of Economic Development, now called the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise (MBIE) brought charges against Campbell over his failure to register Crossdale, not appointing a statutory supervisor for the complex and his failure to issue a disclosure statement to the residents.

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- The Press

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