A prominent businessman has been jailed but continues to vehemently deny indecently assaulting three people and later attempting to bribe one of his victims. Video / Chris Tarpey

A prominent and wealthy New Zealand businessman has been denied bail pending an appeal of his convictions and jail time.

Earlier today, the man was sentenced to a total of two years and four months by Judge Geoffrey Venning for indecently assaulting three men and twice attempting to pervert the course of justice.

However, as his client was taken to Auckland High Court cells, the businessman’s lawyer David Jones QC said he would seek bail pending an appeal. .

A short hearing followed about an hour later, but Judge Venning dismissed the bail application before a later date in the Court of Appeal.

The businessman, who continues to maintain the provisional suppression of names, will be eligible for parole in just over nine months.

He was convicted by a jury in March of assaulting a trio of men in the early 2000s, 2008 and 2016.

The businessman also attempted to bribe the 2016 victim to drop his claims by hiring other people to do his dirty work. He continues to deny any wrongdoing and a pre-sentence report said the businessman considered himself a victim of the poppy syndrome.

Before being convicted, the businessman wrote an email to more than 100 people and organizations asking for help and a letter to be provided to the judge.

“I would greatly appreciate such support … I am innocent of all charges as I stated in my previous email,” he wrote.

Judge Geoffrey Venning refused the businessman's bail pending appeal of his convictions and sentence.  Photo / Michael Craig
Judge Geoffrey Venning refused the businessman’s bail pending appeal of his convictions and sentence. Photo / Michael Craig

The businessman claimed that “we will win the call” but that he may not be heard until next year.

“I doubt I can survive a period of prison. Under these circumstances innocent people can rot and do so in prison only to be cleared some time later. That is the law,” he said.

Crown attorney Simon Foote QC said at sentencing that the wealthy Kiwi was a “man of privilege, commercial success and significant philanthropy.”

But he used his wealth and power to indecently attack people and later attempt to thwart any attempt to hold him accountable, Foote said.

Jones said his client has made an “unprecedented contribution” to New Zealand and that the assaults “cannot deprive the country of the benefit it has brought, literally, to the country.”

Throughout the case, which began in court in February 2017, the businessman has vigorously denied the charges and said he was the victim of an “incredible blackmail circuit”.

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This notice was published: 2021-05-27 00:30:00


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