Man on trial for claim to be lawyer

MARTY SHARPE
Last updated 05:00 25/02/2014
Brian Hunter
ON TRIAL: Brian Hunter.

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A man has gone on trial in Napier, accused of impersonating a lawyer.

Brian Hunter faces two charges of obtaining by deception, both of which relate to his hiring of removal firms.

He is alleged to have told them he was a lawyer from the Kapiti Coast named Michael O'Hara, acting on behalf of a client called Brian Shaw.

The trial, which began before Judge Jonathan Down in Napier District Court yesterday, heard that a Brian Shaw arranged with Wellington Movers to shift his effects from Ashhurst to Waipukurau in April 2012.

Police prosecutor Mal Lochrie said Hunter, 54, gave his name as Shaw and told the company it would be paid from a family trust by lawyer Mike O'Hara.

When the company tried to reach O'Hara it received a message saying he was on compassionate leave.

Company director Matthew Lai told the court the landlord of the Waipukurau address told him the tenant was Brian Hunter.

The company took its claim for the unpaid $5434.70 to the Disputes Tribunal, which ruled Hunter should pay the bill. The debt is still unpaid.

In October 2012, Hunter is alleged to have used the name Michael O'Hara when contacting Crown Relocations to move his effects from Waipukurau to Hastings.

Staff member Julie Butler told the court she spoke to a man identifying himself as O'Hara, who said his company was O'Hara Law Help, and he was making the order on behalf of a client.

After the move she searched for a lawyer named Michael O'Hara. None existed. Crown's $2700 bill also remains unpaid.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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