The jury trial for a Hungarian man accused of setting fire to his mobile kitchen business and claiming insurance has started in the Invercargill District Court.
Borisz Egri, 33, has pleaded not guilty to two charges: arson of the Balaton Crepes Kitchen, owned by Egri, intending to cause loss to NZI Insurance at Queenstown on January 29 last year; and dishonestly using a NZI Insurance property claim form with intent to obtain a pecuniary advantage on January 30 last year.
A Hungarian interpreter is translating the trial, which is being heard before Judge Kevin Phillips.
Crown prosecutor Mike Mika said Egri came to New Zealand in 2008 on a work permit and set up the Balaton Crepes caravan with his girlfriend.
A requirement of the work permit, for it to be ongoing, was that his business had to be profitable, but it was not, he said.
In March, 2010, the net position of the business was a deficit of $7153 and a year later, a deficit of $19,411.
He tried to sell the business in September 2011 and listed it with a Queenstown real estate agent but there was little interest, Mr Mika said.
Egri and his girlfriend broke up and she returned to Hungary.
Defence lawyer Sonia Vidal said Egri did not know how the fire started in his caravan.
He did not light the fire and therefore did not make a false claim to his insurers.
He made a claim to his insurers because, under his policy, he was entitled to claim for the damage, she said.
- The Southland Times