Two SCF accused named

RHONDA MARKBY AND EMMA BAILEY
Last updated 05:00 21/01/2012

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Two of the South Canterbury Finance five facing fraud charges can now be named.

South Canterbury Finance chief financial officer Graeme Brown and Timaru chartered accountant Terry Hutton went to the court yesterday to have their name suppression revoked.

On Monday Judge Joanna Maze granted interim name suppression to all five men until they appear in the Timaru District Court on February 13 in "the interests of preserving rights to a fair trial".

Yesterday she lifted the order relating to Brown and Hutton at their request. The Serious Fraud Office did not oppose it being lifted.

Brown's lawyer Richard Raymond said his client was the first to apply for the interim suppression to be lifted. The other four were told of his intentions and Hutton then followed suit.

The suppression orders regarding the other three remain. Mr Raymond said speculation has been rife about the five defendants and the charges they face.

"Mr Brown was a former chief financial officer for South Canterbury Finance, a position he held for about 3 1/2 years before resigning in January 2010. He faces one allegation of false accounting, which he denies and he will be strongly defending the charge."

Brown was the CFO of Ezibuy from 2004 until 2006. He trained as an accountant with New Zealand Post, and was later CFO of HortResearch in Palmerston North.

Hutton's lawyer Jonathan Eaton said his client also "categorically denied" the two charges he faced – false accounting and creating a false entry. Hutton had also sought to have the suppression order lifted because of the "frenzy of speculation" around the defendants' identities.

Canada-raised Hutton, who has been in New Zealand since 1976, previously worked for Hubbard and Churcher but was now an accountant for Vetlife.

The remaining three defendants face 18 charges between them. One faces nine charges, another five charges and the third four charges. They include entering the Crown guarantee by deception (at a cost of $1.58 billion), breaching the Crown guarantee, failing to declare related-party transactions, charges involving share transfers, inaccurately reporting impairment levels and issues relating to accounting/related practices.

The charges carry maximum sentences of seven to 10 years in prison.

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- The Timaru Herald

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