Liquidator loses fraud appeal bid

Last updated 12:04 07/12/2013

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Former Nelson liquidator Pat Norris will spend Christmas on home detention after he lost his bid to go to New Zealand's highest court.

Norris applied for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court after his attempt to get a fraud conviction quashed in the Court of Appeal was dismissed.

Norris was found guilty of stealing $80,900 from the liquidation of Auckland company Astra Enterprises following a judge-alone trial last year. The judge found Norris had used the money for personal and business expenses.

Norris was sentenced to 10 months' home detention and ordered to pay Upper Moutere couple Maureen and Kelvin Manley $31,724. That reparation was quashed in the Court of Appeal, but he was ordered to pay an increased amount of $40,000 to Astra Enterprises.

The Supreme Court dismissed Norris' application to appeal the Court of Appeal decision this week. Norris argued that as a liquidator he did not have a duty to the creditors to account for a company's funds. He also wanted to argue there should be no conviction for theft where a liquidator has legally taken fees.

Supreme Court Justices John McGrath, William Young and Susan Glazebrook ruled Astra's funds were not available for Norris to use for his own purposes and he had to deal with them in accordance with his liquidator's duties. They agreed there was evidence to support the trial judge's finding that Norris had followed a blatantly dishonest course to cover up his failure to account for Astra's property.

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- Nelson

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