A witness in the trial of an Invercargill man accused of fraud told the Invercargill District Court he was "suckered in" by the accused.
Barry Andrew Hansen, 50, appeared before Judge Michael Turner and a jury in the court yesterday.
Hansen, who has pleaded not guilty, is facing three charges of obtaining by pecuniary deception and one of theft by a person in a special relationship.
The Crown alleges Hansen was paid $57,500 by a group of men after he agreed in 2009 to sell a property in Makarewa that he did not own.
Yesterday, witness Christopher Thompson, who was part of the group, told the jury he had no reason to believe Hansen did not own the property.
The group visited the site and were shown in by Hansen, who had the key and had personal effects stored at the property, Mr Thompson said.
Crown prosecutor John Young asked Mr Thompson what happened after the group paid Hansen the agreed price for the site.
Mr Thompson said the men wanted the property put in their names so development work could begin, but Hansen told them lawyers were holding up the process.
He eventually went to see Hansen at his home to talk about the situation, and went away thinking perhaps things would work out, he said.
"He's a salesman and I was suckered in quite easily."
Another member of the group, Tony Green, told the jury there was initially no paperwork for the deal.
"Barry was a friend and, being a Southlander, you'd think a handshake would be all right, but it wasn't."
Hansen is representing himself during the trial, with lawyer Simon Claver acting as an amicus curiae.
The trial is expected to last 10 days.
The Crown's case continues today.
- The Southland Times
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