Norris seeking to fight on

SALLY KIDSON
Last updated 13:00 28/11/2013

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Former Nelson liquidator Pat Norris is taking his fight to clear his name to the country's highest court.

Norris this month lost his appeal against his fraud conviction in the Court of Appeal.

Now he is applying for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.

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 of that trial found Norris had used the money for personal and business expenses.

He was sentenced to 10 months' home detention and ordered to pay Upper Moutere couple Maureen and Kelvin Manley $31,724.

Norris appealed his conviction and sentence and a hearing was held in the Court of Appeal in Wellington in August.

In a recently released decision, Justices Ellen France, Rodney Hansen and Jillian Mallon said Norris' appeal had failed.

He therefore was to restart his home detention sentence.

Norris' reparation to the Manleys was quashed. But he was ordered to pay an increased amount of $40,000 to Astra Enterprises.

Norris unsuccessfully appealed his conviction on the grounds that there were no specific terms he had to account for in relation to the money he received during the liquidation.

However, the judges agreed that a liquidator receives assets under statutory obligations so there is a "fiduciary relationship" or relationship of trust.

Norris also wanted to introduce new evidence at the appeal. He called Russell Raharuhi and Stephen Rowland.

He intended to show that the Astra Liquidation file was removed from the office by an employee, accountant Warwick Savage.

Mr Raharuhi testified Mr Savage was "in cahoots" with the Companies Office, which was was investigating Norris and tried to take Norris down.

He also argued Mr Savage took documents, including the Astra file, from Mr Norris' office.

Thejudges found it was not credible that Mr Savage had colluded with the Companies Office, nor that he was offered incentives by them.

Under cross examination, neither Mr Raharuhi or Mr Rowland could provide details about the papers they saw Mr Savage with during the appeal.

Norris gave evidence during the trial that he had lost part of the file in Auckland and told the Companies Office it was missing.

Witnesses also gave evidence at the trial that they had not seen work done on the Astra file.

Work by Norris was done to re-create it after the Companies Office visited.

The judges therefore found the proposed new evidence did not meet the threshold.

Nor would it have made a difference to the verdict.

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