The integrity of the justice system was threatened when an Ashburton businessman perjured himself, a judge has said.
In sentencing Paul Michael Brown, 55, yesterday in the Timaru District Court on a charge of perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice, Judge Joanna Maze said the indirect victim of his offending was society as a whole as he "struck at the integrity of the justice system".
Brown owns South Island Dairy Farmers (SIDF), a South Island-wide specialist dairy livestock company.
In 2008 he entered into a contract with a couple to buy 62 calves at $1150 per head. They then set up a contract to on-sell the calves. The end contract fell through, so the couple ended their contract with Brown and SIDF.
Brown argued the contract had not been mutually terminated. In 2009 Brown took civil proceedings against the couple. He said when the contract fell through he had had to sell the calves at a loss, for $450 each, as a result losing $50,000.
It was later discovered Brown had never on-sold the calves for $450. In fact he had sold them for $1450 a head.
His dishonesty came to light through the civil proceedings. Brown created a false invoice showing the sale of the calves, which led to the charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Brown perjured himself by filing an affidavit claiming he had sold the calves, but the sale had fallen through so he had purchased them back.
In April 2010 the couple discovered the dishonesty. They separated as a result of the stress of the civil proceedings and the man had a stress-related heart attack.
The judge said there were two sets of victims of Brown's offending. The first was the couple and the second was society as a whole.
"The indirect victim is society as a whole, who have a vested interest in the integrity of the justice system and the integrity of the courts. It was that system that you played with when you did what you did.
"You created hardship for the victims and struck at the integrity of the justice system."
As Brown travels the length of the island, he sought community detention so he could continue his work.
Judge Maze denied this as it would be "significantly disproportionate" compared with what other like offenders would get.
He was sentenced to nine months' home detention and to pay $25,000 reparation to the victims.
- The Timaru Herald