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High Court Judgments of Public Interest


This page provides access to judgments of the High Court in the last 90 days deemed to be of particular public interest.

More information about finding court judgments is available on the judgments section of this website.

 It is the responsibility of users of the information contained in these decisions to ensure compliance with conditions or other legal obligations governing access, release, storage and re-publication. See also the guide on statutory provisions that prohibit publication of certain information in certain circumstances. If in doubt you should consult the court that issued the decision(s).  Judicial Decisions are presented in PDF format to preserve the integrity of the documents.

Guide on statutory provisions prohibiting publication

R v Lyon
15 June 2018
[2018] NZHC 1434

Sentence of 28 months' imprisonment imposed for reckless driving causing death.

R v Xu, Chen and Jiang
15 June 2018
[2018] NZHC 1433

Verdicts and Reasons following Judge-alone trial against three defendants involved in a large-scale mortgage fraud, involving loans totalling $54 million. Ms Xu found guilty of 22 of 34 charges of obtaining by deception. Mr Chen (a solicitor) found guilty of nine out of 11 charges of obtaining by deception, and also of corruptly paying secret commissions to bank "insiders" (Jiang and Cheng). Mr Jiang found guilty of 25 charges of obtaining by deception, and also of corruptly receiving secret commissions. More detailed summary at [3J to [38J of the decision.

LHL Leasing Solutions Ltd v Pinto Ltd
12 June 2018
[2018] NZHC 1387

The plaintiff seeks to recover over $600,000 from the defendant in liquidated damages for the defendant's alleged failure to deliver up leased equipment on the lease's expiry. Held, on the terms of the lease there is no triggering 'expiry' obliging the defendant to return the equipment. Even if there was, held the defendant has not 'failed' to deliver up equipment, so no liquidated damages are payable. The plaintiffs claim is dismissed.

R v Adams
12 June 2018
[2018] NZHC 1386

Mr Adams pleaded guilty to abduction for the purposes of sexual connection and burglary. A start point of 8 years was adopted, with an uplift of 12 months for prior convictions and 6 months for the burglary. A 10% discount for upbringing and rehabilitation was awarded, as was a 25% guilty plea discount. Preventative detention was considered but not imposed; Mr Adams has not yet had access to a treatment plan.

R v Bush
08 June 2018
[2018] NZHC 1354

Sentence of six years and nine months' imprisonment for manslaughter. The defendant had walked in on his father launching an attack against the victim in his bedroom. The defendant assisted his father by holding the victim to enable the fatal assault to continue. During the attack, the defendant became upset at the extent of the violence being inflicted by his father, and decided to leave and walk home. Starting point of seven years and six months uplifted by six months to account for previous convictions, but then a 15 per cent discount for the defendant's mid-trial guilty plea.

A v Minister of Internal Affairs
07 June 2018
[2018] NZHC 1328

Applicable approach in challenges to decisions to cancel or suspend a passport where Crown claims to withhold classified security information (CSI) from affected person. Rigorous approach to apply to claims for need to maintain secrecy of CSI. Security agencies obliged to provide all relevant information to the Court, but not routinely obliged to seek consent to disclose CSI from sources. Disclosure not expected where sourced from the affected person or publicly available, but such sources increase onus to justify prejudice claims. Court supervised summary of CSI provided to the affected person to provide gist of the case. Crown may withdraw items of CSI to exclude content from the summary.

Body Corporate 199380 v Cook and Anor
30 May 2018
[2018] NZHC 1244

The decision upholds the body corporate’s contention that the Tenancy Tribunal and the District Court were wrong in holding that when recovering the costs of repairs made to unit property under s 138(1) of the Unit Titles Act 2010, s 138(4) applies only in circumstances that s 126 (concerning benefit to other unit owners) does not apply. However, the decision rejects the body corporate’s contention that the choice as to which section applies is solely at the discretion of the body corporate. The decision holds that a body corporate must take into account the purpose of the Act and principles derived from the Act and decisions under the Unit Titles Act 1972 when deciding which section to apply. While the District Court erred on that point of law, its overall approach and the result were broadly consistent with the approach set out in the High Court decision. Accordingly, the body corporate’s appeal was dismissed.

Motairehe Whanga Te Uri O Rangihokaia Ko Ngātiwai Ki Aotea Incorporated v MacDonald & Anor
29 May 2018
[2018] NZHC 1231

Plaintiff represents Māori on Motu Aotea (Great Barrier). Mandate of Ngāti Rehua-Ngatiwai ki Aotea Trust Board to negotiate Treaty settlement recognised by the Crown, settlement reached and legislation pending. Plaintiff challenged whakapapa in the Board's mandate. It sought declarations that it is: entitled to interpret the whakapapa, entitled to negotiate with Crown on Aotea claims, and entitled to receive settlement moneys. Board applied to strike out claim. Claim struck out on the primary ground that the issues are ones which cannot be determined by a court - they are for the executive and, ultimately, Parliament. Also, issues of whakapapa are not appropriately determined by a court.

R v Bush
28 May 2018
[2018] NZHC 1217

Sentence of life imprisonmentwith minimum non-parole period of 17 years- for murder and aggravated robbery. The defendant had entered the victim's bedroom intending to tie him up in order to steal his vehicle. In overcoming the victim's resistance the defendant embarked on a brutal and sustained attack with a weapon in which the victim suffered blunt force injuries to his head and strangulation, each of which contributed to his death. Section 104 of the Sentencing Act 2002 was engaged, but the defendant would have received a 17-year minimum non-parole period in any event- no need to consider whether such a sentence would be manifestly unjust.

Medical Officer of Health v G & B Hasler Ltd
25 May 2018
[2018] NZHC 1208

Appeal from decision of Alcohol and Regulatory Licensing Authority dismissed. The plan of the footprint of supermarket and grocery store premises required by the Act need only show the perimeter of the alcohol area not the proposed arrangement of displays within the area. Licensees are not constrained from rearranging displays of alcohol within the designated alcohol area, providing exposure of shoppers to displays is limited so far as is reasonably practicable. Conditions may be imposed to restrict configuration and arrangement of display units within the alcohol area, including aisle-end display units, providing the condition is imposed on a case by case basis and is reasonable.

R v Karauria
24 May 2018
[2018] NZHC 1184

Sentence of life imprisonment with minimum non-parole period of 12 years for murder and aggravated robbery. Planned killing carried out in brutal manner but minimum non-parole period reduced for guilty plea, co-operation, youth and immaturity.

Moon v Public Trust and Anor
23 May 2018
[2018] NZHC 1169

Application for "proper maintenance and support" pursuant to s 4 Family Protection Act 1955.  Preliminary issue was whether plaintiff entitled to make application as de facto partner of deceased.  No dispute that plaintiff and deceased had been in a long relationship but had never lived together, had no shared assets or finances and limited public relationship.  On other hand sheer length of relationship (27 years) was significant and indicative of a shared life together and limited public relationship was largely the result of significant health issues for the deceased.  In the end plaintiff's characterisation of the relationship supported by independent witnesses, and also by deceased's brothers.  End conclusion was plaintiff the de facto partner of the deceased.  Court accepted that deceased leaving only her ashes to the plaintiff was a breach of moral duty, and after rejecting a claim by the plaintiff that as the surviving spouse entitled to whole of the deceased estate, awarded $300,000 to rectify the breach of moral duty to address plaintiff's economic needs and need for recognition.

R v Davis
22 May 2018
[2018] NZHC 1162

Sentence of life imprisonment with 20-year minimum period imposed for third-strike murder. Victim was the defendant's partner; died as a result of at least four blows to the head and torso consistent with the use of fists rather than a weapon. Held that s 104 of the Sentencing Act was not engaged, and a 14-year minimum period would be appropriate were it not for the three-strikes regime. A sentence of life imprisonment without parole was manifestly unjust in light of the Court of Appeal's test in R v Harrison [2016] NZCA 381. Important factors included Mr Davis' age (26 years old, meaning he could be expected to live another 50 years); his mental health difficulties; his guilty plea and the fact rehabilitation could not be entirely excluded. However, a minimum period of 20 years was not manifestly unjust and this was therefore the presumptive sentence under the three-strikes regime.

R v Sehgal
22 May 2018
[2018] NZHC 1145

Sentencing- offender had pleaded guilty to three charges of dealing in a person under the age of 18 years for the purposes of sexual exploitation and one charge of receiving earnings from commercial sexual services provided by a person under the age of 18 years- the offender had assisted the 15 year old victim's mother to set up a prostitution business under which the victim provided sexual services to more than 1000 clients for reward over a period of approximately 18 months beginning on her 15'" birthday- the defendant's role was to provide a bank account for use in the business and, on occasions, to drive the victim to meet clients where she would provide sexual services for reward -the bulk of the earnings from the business went into the offender's bank account and the offender paid expenses, including advertising. From starting point of five years nine months imprisonment to reflect culpability on all charges- discount of three months to reflect prior good character- discount of ten months (or 15%) to reflect late guilty pleas- end sentence four years eight months imprisonment imposed on the three charges of dealing in a person under the age of 18 years for the purposes of sexual exploitation- minimum term of two years four months imprisonment imposed on those charges- concurrent sentence of two years six months imprisonment imposed on the remaining charge.

R v Toru
22 May 2018
[2018] NZHC 1144

Reasons for verdict in judge alone trial of 15 charges of violent and sexual offending within a domestic relationship. Defendant pleaded guilty at commencement of trial to one charge of assault with intent to injure. Complainant provided detailed recorded interview days after the incidents, and thereafter recanted. Permission given (per Hannigan v R [2013] 2 NZLR 612]) for Crown counsel to explore inconsistencies between version in recorded interview and exculpatory statements in evidence, and complainant declared hostile at the outset of re-examination. Guilty verdicts on all counts, in reliance on version in the recorded interview. Defendant also charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice, with a co-defendant, for encouraging the complainant to recant. Guilty verdict on that charge.

reissued: The Medical Officer of Health (Wellington Region) v Lion Liquor Retail Limited
18 May 2018
[2018] NZHC 1123

Under r 11.10 of the High Court Rules Clark J recalled and re-issued the judgment to correct some typographical errors

Re Henderson
18 May 2018
[2018] NZHC 1116
R v Mitchell
18 May 2018
[2018] NZHC 1112
Commerce Commission v Harmoney Ltd
18 May 2018
[2018] NZHC 1107
Bright v Auckland Council
16 May 2018
[2018] NZHC 1054
Malone v R
15 May 2018
[2018] NZHC 1059
R v Austen
11 May 2018
[2018] NZHC 1024
Rewa v The Attorney-General of New Zealand
09 May 2018
[2018] NZHC 1005
Foodstuffs North Island Limited v The Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority
08 May 2018
[2018] NZHC 988
Renie Gibson Family Trustee (2016) Ltd v Westpac Banking Corporation
08 May 2018
[2018] NZHC 974
Keating v New Zealand Police
04 May 2018
[2018] NZHC 942
Supplementary judgment : Smith v New Zealand Police
01 May 2018
[2018] NZHC 898
Smith v New Zealand Police
01 May 2018
[2018] NZHC 878
Minister of Education v H Construction North Island Ltd (Formerly Hawkins Construction North Island Ltd)
01 May 2018
[2018] NZHC 871
R v Taulapapa
27 April 2018
[2018] NZHC 834
R v Blackler
27 April 2018
[2018] NZHC 830
R v Thomas
27 April 2018
[2018] NZHC 819
Abano Healthcare Group Ltd v Healthcare Partners Holdings Ltd
27 April 2018
[2018] NZHC 817
R v Price
26 April 2018
[2018] NZHC 811
Taylor v Witness C
26 April 2018
[2018] NZHC 810
R v Cossey
20 April 2018
[2018] NZHC 887
Harraway v Police
20 April 2018
[2018] NZHC 761
Hojsgaard v The Chief Executive of Land Information New Zealand
20 April 2018
[2018] NZHC 750
R v Marong
20 April 2018
[2018] NZHC 748
Taylor v Witness C
20 April 2018
[2018] NZHC 731
Police v Eddy
19 April 2018
[2018] NZHC 736
R v Keremete
19 April 2018
[2018] NZHC 730
Watkins Manufacturing Corporation v Prestige Pools Limited & Anor
18 April 2018
[2018] NZHC 709
R v Lata
17 April 2018
[2018] NZHC 707
Commissioner of Inland Revenue v Robertson
17 April 2018
[2018] NZHC 696
Singh v Chief Executive, Ministry Of Business Innovation and Employment
13 April 2018
[2018] NZHC 673
Guest & Ors v Warner
12 April 2018
[2018] NZHC 666
R v Ngamotu
11 April 2018
[2018] NZHC 893
R v Millar
09 April 2018
[2018] NZHC 625
Enterprise Miramar Peninsula Incorporated v Wellington City Council
09 April 2018
[2018] NZHC 614
Travlon Coachlines (2005) Ltd v New Zealand Transport Agency
28 March 2018
[2018] NZHC 558
Department of Internal Affairs v Ping An Finance (Group) New Zealand Company Limited & Anor
26 March 2018
[2018] NZHC 530
Dotcom v The Attorney-General
21 March 2018
[2018] NZHC 495