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 businessman has been jailed but continues to vehemently deny indecently assaulting three people and later attempting to bribe one of his victims.
The wealthy Kiwi was convicted by a High Court jury in March of assaulting a trio of men in the early 2000s, 2008 and 2016.
The businessman, who continues to maintain the provisional deletion of names, has also been convicted – alongside others – of twice attempting to pervert the course of justice by offering a bribe. wine to the victim of 2016 to drop her claims.
One of the businessman’s bribery convictions involved hiring public relations consultant Jevan Goulter in an elaborate attempt to convince the 2016 victim to withdraw his allegations. It became known as the “Gold Coast Plot”.
The other attempt involved artist Mika X helping the businessman derail the lawsuit with a $ 15,000 bribe.
Crown attorney Simon Foote QC said the wealthy convicted Kiwi was a “man of privilege, commercial success and important philanthropy.”
But his external success and status, Foote said, was a tackle as he used his wealth and power to indecently attack people and later attempt to thwart any attempt to hold him accountable.
Judge Geoffrey Venning told the businessman: “You asked others to do your dirty work.”
However, lawyer for businessman David Jones QC said his client had made an “unprecedented contribution” to New Zealand and that the assaults “could not deprive the country of the benefit it has received. 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”.
He continues to deny any wrongdoing, while Jones has previously indicated his client will appeal his convictions. A pre-sentence report said the businessman considered himself a victim of the greater poppy syndrome.
Given his contribution to society and to health issues – which had previously seen the sentence adjourned – Judge Venning ultimately jailed the man for two years and four months.
The judge said it would be wrong not to jail the businessman.
Jones immediately told the Auckland High Court that he would seek bail for his client later today, pending an appeal.
Two of the businessman’s three victims were in court to read statements.
The man assaulted in the early 2000s said that upon seeing the businessman’s name and successes in the media, he was brought back on the night he was followed to a dark Auckland mansion and attack.
He went to the police after the businessman’s first trial was aborted in 2018 due to the emergence of a recording of three conspirators – Goulter, his partner Allison Edmonds and the man’s director business – talking about the case in a bar.
Both Goulter and Edmonds were granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for their testimony for the Crown, which was examined and remained after the recording was discovered.
The victim in the early 2000s told the court he expected the businessman to rely on his philanthropy in a final attempt “to clear the guilty verdict.”
Earlier this month, the influential man emailed more than 100 people and organizations requesting letters of support to present to the judge.
“I would greatly appreciate such support … I am innocent of all charges,” he wrote.
“I doubt I can survive any period of prison. Under these circumstances innocent people can and will rot in prison only to be cleared some time later. That is the law.”
Some letters of support were written for the businessman, but the court heard from those who had not wanted their names revealed.
Judge Venning said it was “strange” for someone to write a letter in favor of the businessman, but didn’t want anyone to know about it.
The victim assaulted in 2008 also told the court that it was difficult to see the businessman continue to play a respected role in the community.
“I knew that at some point I would have to go to the police,” he said.
He added that the businessman lacked remorse, while a community of betrayers who knew about his criminal acts also looked away.
“It’s a question of power, of power that [the businessman] had that I didn’t, ”he said.
“The balance of power has changed, the three of us have been telling the truth … and in doing so, we have taken some of the power that this person has taken from us.”
Foote read the 2016 victim impact statement, who lives in Australia.
The assault impacted the victim’s professional life and effectively ended her career dream after the trial went from months to years, the court said.
The manager of the businessman, who deleted the name, was also in court today to look at the conviction.
He was on trial alongside the businessman and jointly charged with trying to deter the complainant under the Gold Coast program in May 2017.
He was found guilty and earlier sentenced by Judge Venning to 12 months house arrest.
Kiwi artist Mika X, also known as Mika Haka, was also found guilty of helping the businessman derail the trial.
He was sentenced to 11 months of house arrest after admitting two counts of attempted deterrence and bribery of the 2016 victim.
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This notice was published: 2021-05-26 23:59:18