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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


CaseSummary
Minister of Education v H Construction North Island Ltd (in rec and liq)
26 June 2019
[2019] NZHC 1459

Partially successful non-party costs award following Minister of Education v H Construction North Island Ltd [2018] NZHC 871

Waho v Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust
21 June 2019
[2019] NZHC 1440

Mr Waho, the plaintiff, was unlawfully removed as a trustee of the Te Kohanga Reo National Trust. An earlier (costs liability) judgment determined he was entitled to be indemnified for his costs. The next stage was to assess the reasonableness of the costs incurred. Held: Having brought before the Court a matter which was in the interests of the Trust to have brought before the Court the plaintiff is entitled to be indemnified fully for his expenses. The defendant did not discharge the onus on it of demonstrating the plaintiffs costs were unreasonably incurred. The defendant is to pay Mr Waho's costs and disbursement of $583,483.08 less the sum already paid to him.

R v Gosset & Anor
17 June 2019
[2019] NZHC 1366

Sentencing: Two co-defendants sentenced to life imprisonment for murder. Found s 104 Sentencing Act 2002 was not engaged by a fine margin. Starting MPI of 16 years adopted, uplifts given for previous convictions. No discounts due to unwillingness by both to take responsibility. MPls of 17 and a half years and 16 and a half years imposed. Concurrent sentences imposed for lesser charges of possessing firearms, ammunition and methamphetamine for supply.

Craig v Stringer
17 June 2019
[2019] NZHC 1363

For Mr Craig to be able to pursue his defamation claim against Mr Stringer would either require Ms MacGregor to give evidence and be cross-examined for a fourth time about whether Mr Craig sexually harassed her or would put Mr Stringer at a significant disadvantage in his defence. It would be oppressive to Ms MacGregor or Mr Stringer. Mr Craig has had, and continues to have, plenty of access to justice on this subject, in other proceedings. I consider it would be an abuse of the High Court's processes for the claim to continue. I stay his proceeding and the causes of action in Mr Stringer's claim in response that relates to the same subject. I also order Mr Stringer to give further discovery, I give Mr Craig permission to have a lawyer as a MacKenzie friend and I order Mr Stringer to provide security for costs in his proceeding.

Webster v NZ Police
13 June 2019
[2019] NZHC 1335

Mr Colin Webster was convicted of assaulting a police officer in the execution of his duty and possessing an offensive weapon, after calling Police to his home for assistance in dealing with his methamphetamine-addicted son. The appeal of both convictions is upheld. The police officer was not lawfully on Mr Webster's property and, therefore, was not in the execution of his duty. And the evidence does not sustain Mr Webster intending to use a metal pole to cause bodily injury or having no reasonable excuse to hold it. Accordingly, there was a miscarriage of justice and both convictions are quashed.

R v Wheble
11 June 2019
[2019] NZHC 1301

Sentencing for attempted murder. Second strike offence. Offender approached fellow inmate in communal prison area and slashed his throat with a razor blade. He made two more unsuccessful attempts to cut his throat and then stomped on his head when he was on the ground, followed by six kicks to the head and body. The Court adopted a starting point of 10 years imprisonment, distinguishing it from more serious attempted murders in the prison environment where the victim was intentionally isolated from potential support. No uplift imposed for previous offending due to the offender having to serve the entire sentence without parole. A discount of 10 percent provided for various personal factors.

Craig v Slater
06 June 2019
[2019] NZHC 1269

Costs judgment in defamation proceeding Craig v Slater [2018] NZHC 2712. 3B costs allocated to Slater as the successful party. Craig succeeded only in proving that he did not place his press secretary, Rachel MacGregor, under financial pressure to sleep with him and that he did not sexually harass another woman. Craig failed on all other significant pleaded causes of action, including particularly the principal allegation that he had sexually harassed Ms MacGregor. Costs award to Slater reduced by 10 percent to reflect Craig's limited success.
The Court held that costs should lie where they fall in respect of the counterclaim. Craig protected by response to an attack privilege, but Slater succeeded in proving the statements about his journalistic integrity were not true. Because it is difficult to identify precisely those costs incurred by Slater in respect of the counterclaim, a discount of 10 percent applied to reflect those costs lying where they fall.

Mr Slater's claim for indemnity costs failed because the Court accepted that Mr Craig did not know he had sexually harassed Ms MacGregor when bringing the proceeding, due largely to his oblivious and self-involved perception of their professional and personal relationship. He therefore did not bring the proceeding vexatiously or frivolously.

Final disposition of costs awards as follows: first, Slater shall not receive costs for any interlocutory steps taken in respect of the counterclaim; costs in respect of pretrial preparation and trial appearances reduced by 10 percent to reflect the aspect of those costs expended in relation to the counterclaim lying where they fall; 90 percent of the remaining sum payable by Mr Craig to reflect the limited success he had on the substantive claim.

 

R v Apperley
06 June 2019
[2019] NZHC 1267

Preventive detention with a 10-year minimum period of imprisonment imposed on Apperley (aged 39) who pleaded guilty to 14 mostly representative charges of sexual violation (as principal, party and for attempts), assault with a weapon and making and possessing objectionable publications. Finite sentence considered inadequate for protecting the community.

R v Beaumont
31 May 2019
[2019] NZHC 1235

Sentencing on charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm ("GBH"), threatening to kill and wilful trespass.

Result: sentenced to four years and 10 months' imprisonment on charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. On the charge of threatening to kill, sentenced to six months' imprisonment to be served concurrently, and on the charge of wilful trespass, sentenced to two months' imprisonment, also to be served concurrently.

R v Gosling
31 May 2019
[2019] NZHC 1233

Sentencing on one charge of manslaughter and to one charge of excess blood alcohol causing injury.

Result: On the charge of manslaughter sentenced to four years four months and two weeks' imprisonment. On the charge of driving with excess blood alcohol sentenced to two years' imprisonment, to be served concurrently. Two years disqualification from driving and ordered to pay reparation for the cost of the blood alcohol analysis fees in the sum of $109.25.

R v Jenkins
31 May 2019
[2019] NZHC 1231

NZHC releases decision in R v Jenkins ordering the defendant be detained in hospital as a special patient following a finding that he is unfit to stand trial for a charge of murder

Greymouth Petroleum Mining Group Ltd v Minister of Energy and Resources
31 May 2019
[2019] NZHC 1222

Application for judicial review by holder of petroleum mining permit challenging regulator’s power to impose condition under Crown Minerals Act 1991 requiring partial surrender of parts of permit area where presence of commercially producible hydrocarbons had not been established.  Also claims that regulator had misinterpreted the effect of such a condition, and that regulator’s proposal on how the permit holder could comply with partial surrender condition constituted wrongful exercise of a statutory power. These claims dismissed. Separate arguments on application of conditions for submission of work programmes upheld. 

R v Gray
23 May 2019
[2019] NZHC 1135

Hayden Gray had been convicted, following a Judge-alone trial, on two charges of intentionally causing  grievous bodily harm to his infant son. On the second incident he inflicted serious and permanent brain damage. Some 10 days earlier he had  inflicted multiple rib fractures. ((2019] NZHC 941). His son died one year and one day later. Mr Gray has been sentenced on the charges to 10.5 years and 8 years respectively to be served concurrently.

Stan Semenoff Logging Limited v New Zealand Transport Agency
23 May 2019
[2019] NZHC 1133

The NZTA revoked SSL’s transport licence. It found the persons in control were not fit and proper persons to hold the licence.  SSL sought an extension of an interim preserving order.  The Court found SSL has a reasonably arguable case that NZTA was obliged to, but failed to make, specific findings about the fitness of each person in control. Public safety did not preclude the extension. The interim order was extended. The Court also granted permission to specified media to receive a copy of a secret video recording of Mr Semenoff. The principle of open justice outweighed Mr Semenoff’s privacy interests.

 

FM Custodians Ltd v R & Smith
22 May 2019
[2019] NZHC 1128

In getting mortgages over properties owned by his family trust and a company he was a director of, Lindsay Smith forged the other director's signature. He was convicted of using a forged document, and the District Court made instrument forfeiture orders in relation to the proceeds of the sales of those properties. The High Court upheld the District Court decision. The HC held that the properties were instruments of crime and, applying agency principles from Dollars & Sense Finance Ltd v Nathan [2008] NZSC 20, that FM Custodians' interests in the properties were not valid because the registered mortgages were obtained through fraud, and FM Custodians was involved in Mr Smith's offending.

 

R v Rudolph
14 May 2019
[2019] NZHC 1050

Sentencing for aggravated robbery and dishonestly using a document. Victim lured back to hotel room on the premise of paying for sex then robbed at knifepoint, beaten and tied up. Defendant already at hotel room when the victim arrived with two other co-defendants. She played no part in the formation of the plan or any actual violence. She used a knife for intimidation and went to ATMs with the victim's bank cards to withdraw money. Starting point of three years, nine months adopted. Discount of 10 percent for deprived background, limited expression of remorse and efforts at rehabilitation. Discount of 15 percent for guilty pleas - defendant originally absconded and co-defendants' trial proceeded in her absence. Her decision to plead guilty spared the victim the ordeal of another trial. End sentence of 2 years and 10 months' imprisonment.

R v Kahia
10 May 2019
[2019] NZHC 1021

Sentencing for one charge of murder arising out of a stabbing. Kahia has violent criminal history, and offending was committed whilst subject to supervision order. Offending had a gang dimension, and involved multiple attackers. Imposed sentence of life imprisonment with minimum period of imprisonment of 12 years.

 

 

R v Brackenridge
09 May 2019
[2019] NZHC 1004

Reasons for ruling that drug-induced schizophrenia is a "disease of the mind" under s 23(2) of the Crimes Act. Significant use of cannabis and/or methamphetamine can produce permanent changes in a person's brain which lead to schizophrenia. Data suggest such use probably increases the rate of schizophrenia, in those genetically predisposed. The defence of insanity is concerned with offenders' capacity to be held responsible for the crime they commit. A schizophrenic state of mind can affect offenders to the extent they are incapable of the requisite knowledge or understanding. That it may be drug-induced is immaterial ~ however induced, the operative state of mind is schizophrenic.

R v Parangi
08 May 2019
[2019] NZHC 996

Ms Parangi appears for sentencing for manslaughter for her role in the death of her 8 month old grandson, following a retrial. Knowing her grandson was in a hot car, Ms Parangi chose to smoke synthetic cannabis knowing it would impede her ability to check on him. This makes this case more serious than others involving accidental deaths of children. A start point of 3 years 8 months is justified. A global discount of approximately 30% is warranted; 15% to recognise Ms Parangi's lack of previous convictions and evidence of good character, 10% to reflect the additional difficulty of prison due to mental health issues, and the remainder on compassionate/cultural grounds.


R v Gray - verdict
01 May 2019
[2019] NZHC 942

Hayden Gray faced three charges relating to injuries suffered by his infant son in July 2018. One charge was dismissed on the Crown's application. Following a Judge alone trial, Mr Gray has been convicted of two charges of causing his son grievous bodily harm with intent to cause such harm. The Court has found that Mr Gray inflicted serious head injuries a month after his son's birth and, separately at least 10 days earlier, multiple fractures. Mr Gray son's died (one year and one day after his head injury) from complications arising from his injuries. Mr Gray has been remanded to 23 May 2019 for sentencing.

R v Gray - reasons judgment
01 May 2019
[2019] NZHC 941

Hayden Gray faced three charges relating to injuries suffered by his infant son in July 2018. One charge was dismissed on the Crown's application. Following a Judge alone trial, Mr Gray has been convicted of two charges of causing his son grievous bodily harm with intent to cause such harm. The Court has found that Mr Gray inflicted serious head injuries a month after his son's birth and, separately at least 10 days earlier, multiple fractures. Mr Gray son's died (one year and one day after his head injury) from complications arising from his injuries. Mr Gray has been remanded to 23 May 2019 for sentencing.

Trends Publishing International Limited v Callaghan Innovation
30 April 2019
[2019] NZHC 907

Trends Publishing International Limited ("Trends") seeks damages in the sum of $61 million from Callaghan Innovation ("Callaghan") for alleged breaches of contract and statutory duties arising out of Crown funding of research and development administered by Callaghan. This judgment deals with the question of liability only.

Trends and Callaghan entered into a funding agreement ("the Agreement") on 2 April 2014 which enabled Trends to claim 20% of eligible research and development expenditure. Following three quarterly claims made by Trends, Callaghan sought further information from Trends with regard to the amounts claimed under the Agreement. Following the provision of that further information, Callaghan appointed Deloitte New Zealand ("Deloitte") to undertake an investigation of Trends' compliance with the Agreement. Following that investigation further concerns were identified in a draft report prepared by Deloitte. Callaghan referred the concerns raised to the Serious Fraud Office and suspended the Agreement. Following responses from Trends and preparation of a final report by Deloitte, Callaghan terminated the Agreement. Trends contended the investigation carried out by Deloitte failed to comply with the Agreement and disputed that Callaghan was entitled to either suspend or terminate the Agreement. Trends also argued that Callaghan further breached the contract by issuing press releases following both the suspension and termination of the agreement.

HELD: The Deloitte investigation was an audit in terms of the Agreement, and followed the procedure set out. The matters identified by Deloitte in both its draft and final reports provided a sufficient base for Callaghan to both suspend and terminate the Agreement. Likewise, Callaghan did not breach the Agreement by issuing either the suspension or termination press releases. As a result Trends' claims fail in their entirety and Callaghan is entitled to judgment accordingly.

K and G v The Government Inquiry into Operation Burnham and Related Matters
16 April 2019
[2019] NZHC 854

Unsuccessful application for leave to administer interrogatories to the Government Inquiry into Operation Burnham and Related Matters. As drafted answering the interrogatories would risk breaching confidentiality orders and the applicants have not satisfied the Court that they are necessary at this time.

Solicitor-General v Karekare
16 April 2019
[2019] NZHC 849

Prosecutor's appeal against sentence. Defendant pleaded guilty to charges of wilful damage, male assaults female, and theft. He was sentenced to ten and a half months' imprisonment. District Court Judge declined to grant a protection order in favour of the victim under s 123B of the Sentencing Act 2002. HELD: Appeal allowed. The victim's subjective fears are not without foundation, given the defendant's previous offending against her. There was an ongoing pattern of domestic violence, and no persuasive countervailing factors weighing against the need to grant a protection order. A protection order is imposed subject to standard conditions.

Smith v The Attorney-General
16 April 2019
[2019] NZHC 835

Phillip Smith sought judicial review of certain decisions and guidelines on temporary release issued by the Chief Executive of the Department of Corrections in the wake of Mr Smith's escape while on temporary release in 2014. Aspects of Mr Smith's application successful and certain guidelines declared invalid. This does not necessarily taint downstream individual decisions on temporary release or release to work (RTWJ. Mr Hayden Taylor also sought judicial review of a December 2014 decision declining his application for RTW. Mr Taylor's application dismissed. No blanket approach taken to the decision-making and his claim more akin to a merits-based challenge.

R v Morris
12 April 2019
[2019] NZHC 806

Sentencing of Heath Morris on a guilty plea to murder. Defendant receives life imprisonment and a  minimum period of imprisonment of 13 and a half years. The offending was callous, brutal, pre-meditated, and unprovoked. It occurred while the victim was sleeping and involved use of a blunt instrument. However, in light of the defendant's youth (18 at the time of the offending), mental health issues and guilty plea, a minimum period of imprisonment of 17 years as mandated by s 104 of the Sentencing Act would have been manifestly unjust.

Commerce Commission v Viagogo AG
10 April 2019
[2019] NZHC 776

Leave granted to appeal decision holding High Court lacks jurisdiction to determine interim orders in face of undetermined protest to jurisdiction absent service.

Self-Realization Mediation & healing Centre Charitable Trust (NZ) v IAG New Zealand Ltd
10 April 2019
[2019] NZHC 763

Owner claiming against lAG for not repairing all earthquake damage. Three different builders had done some repair work. Owners not claiming builders work was defective. Insurer arguing policy did not cover defective building work. High Court decided one builder's involvement in building work was modest. The involvement in likely trial issues was so modest it would not be just for builder to be involved in the High Court proceedings.

R v Talbot
09 April 2019
[2019] NZHC 773

The defendant appears for sentence after pleading guilty to a representative charge of failing to disclose a relevant interest contrary to s 19ZD of the Securities Markets Act. There have been no other prior prosecutions under s 43A(1).
HELD: Conviction entered on the representative non-disclosure charge, and the defendant ordered to pay a fine of $12,000. A starting of $15,000 was adopted (the maximum penalty is $30,000); non-disclosure is of material seriousness. The abuse of position of trust and authority, the extent of the offending, and the period over which the offending occurred (8 breaches in just over a year) were all aggravating factors. A 10 per cent discount was applied for previous good character, while a further 10 per cent was applied in recognition of the defendant's guilty plea.

R v Patangata
09 April 2019
[2019] NZHC 744

Manslaughter sentencing following trial. Defendant stabbed her partner to the neck, killing him. Relationship between the two turbulent and occasionally violent; each would hit the other. Defendant had a history of violence with knives. Manslaughter was her second-strike. Six-year starting point adopted. Case eerily similar to R v Brown.... Defendant relied on a cultural report. Discussion of principle in this area. Ten percent allowed for defendant's background and prospect of rehabilitation. Small deduction for time on electronically monitored bail. Five-year prison term imposed (defendant ineligible for parole).