Man befriended people 'to commit fraud'

Last updated 11:15 25/03/2014

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A Southland man accused of fraud befriended people and offered them goods and services with the intention of not following through on his offer, a Crown prosecutor has told an Invercargill jury.

Barry Andrew Hansen, 50, has pleaded not guilty to three charges of obtaining by pecuniary deception and one of theft by a person in a special relationship.

The trial, before Judge Michael Turner, is being heard in the Invercargill District Court and the jury is expected to begin deliberating today.

The Crown alleges that Hansen fraudulently obtained more than $300,000. Crown prosecutor John Young said, in his closing address, that it was an overwhelmingly strong case for the Crown.

Hansen befriended people and offered them goods and services with the intention of not following through with his offer but to obtain money for his own benefit, Mr Young said.

It was improbable that four groups of complainants would make up four separate allegations against him, he said.

The Crown alleged that 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. Mr Young reinforced to the jury during his closing address that Hansen had never owned the property.

The Crown alleged that between June and July 2012 Hansen was approached by a person who owned a rental property and who wanted a sleepout built.

Hansen agreed to help the person and about $30,000 was given to him.

However, the builders were never paid.

The Crown accepted that Hansen had taken some preliminary steps. But he had no intention at all of using the funds to build, Mr Young said.

He said the Crown also alleged that a terminally ill man asked Hansen to invest his money and he agreed to do so. The Crown submitted that there was no evidence that the money was invested. Hansen clearly failed to deal with it in accordance with the man's requirements.

"To not invest [the money] as requested can be nothing other than deliberate."

Hansen is representing himself, with lawyer Simon Claver acting as an amicus curiae.

Mr Claver closed the case for the defence.

He told the jury that Hansen had not intended to deceive anybody and was doing what he thought was right.

Mr Claver cautioned jury members that if they had formed a personal opinion about Hansen during the trial it had no place in their deliberations and that they must concentrate on the evidence they had heard and seen in the courtroom.

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- The Southland Times

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