A 32-year-old man was found guilty by an Invercargill jury yesterday for lying to a judge by saying he had sold his vehicle when he had not.
Gareth David Marks shook his head as the guilty verdict was delivered. He faced a charge of committing perjury by falsely stating, as part of his evidence at his sentencing, that he had disposed of his vehicle at Queenstown on June 6 last year.
Judge Phil Moran fined Marks $5000.
In his closing address yesterday, Crown lawyer Mike Mika said that while Marks was being sentenced in the Queenstown District Court on June 6, he told a judge he had sold his vehicle.
But he had not sold his vehicle and lied because he did not want it confiscated, Mr Mika said.
An hour after Marks' sentencing, police visited his Queenstown home and found the vehicle parked up the driveway and after making enquiries discovered the vehicle was still registered under his name, Mr Mika told the court.
However, later the same day, another man changed the vehicle into his name and moved it to his home the following day, Mr Mika said.
He also told the members of the jury they could be sure Marks had lied, that he had not sold the car when he gave evidence under oath on June 6.
After the guilty verdict was read, Mr Mika said the offence was serious.
"This is offending that goes to the heart of the justice system."
Defence lawyer Sonia Vidal said, in her closing address, that Marks did not lie and he had sold the vehicle.
The new owner had registered the vehicle in his name and picked it up after he was spoken to by police because he did not want someone else taking his new vehicle, she said.
The evidence clearly showed and supported what Marks had said, Ms Vidal said.
"It is my submission, the only verdict you can return in this matter is one of not guilty."
- The Southland Times