Bankruptcy release bid fails for second time

Last updated 05:00 26/06/2014

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A second bid to be released from bankruptcy has failed for a South Canterbury woman who wishes to travel to Norway.

Gabrielle Mathieson was made bankrupt on June 11 last year. She made a habeas corpus application to the High Court at Timaru this year, claiming she was being unlawfully detained as she was unable to travel overseas without the consent of the official assignee.

Habeas corpus is a writ requiring a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court, to secure the person's release, unless lawful grounds are shown for their detention. In latin habeas corpus means "you shall have the body (in court)".

Mathieson contended her bankruptcy was wrongly filed because she was Norwegian and did not have a New Zealand domicile, and because the application was brought by her spouse.

In his decision, released on June 18, Justice Paul Heath found she was not detained. On June 20 she sought the setting aside of the decision, claiming the wrong sort of certificate of judgment was used for bankruptcy proceedings.

"That is correct. But it was unnecessary to do so because of the more fundamental problem that the applicants faced; namely that the order of adjudication in bankruptcy must be regarded as valid and enforceable until it is set aside by a court of competent jurisdiction. It remains in force and I have no power to revisit it," Justice Heath said in his decision.

"The original application is now spent, or in legal terms, moot."

Any challenge must now take place in the Court of Appeal.

"Save for any appeal document, the registrar is directed not to receive any further documents that the applicants seek to file ... relation to this proceeding."

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- The Timaru Herald

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