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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 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).

R v Scanlan
03 April 2019
[2019] NZHC 679

Sentence for indecent act with intent to insult or offend. Defendant lifted up woman's skirt on the beach with a crutch. Originally charged with indecent assault, which is a qualifying offence for the three strikes regime. Defendant had already received two warnings, so if convicted would be required to be sentenced to statutory maximum of seven years' imprisonment with no parole. In the circumstances, the Crown agreed to downgrade to a lesser charge. Defendant subsequently pleaded guilty and sentenced to one year's imprisonment. Home detention considered but not imposed due to defendant's lack of suitable address and history of offending.

R v Talbot
03 April 2019
[2019] NZHC 676

Media applications to film, take photos, and record sound at sentencing refused so far as any filming or photographing of the defendant. In-court media coverage guidelines prohibit filming or taking photos of defendant during sentencing except with leave. Some special justification is required, as the prohibition inferentially means filming or photographing defendant during sentencing will not in itself "provide or assist in providing an accurate, fair and balanced report of the hearing".

R v Kokiri
03 April 2019
[2019] NZHC 674

Media granted access to agreed summary of facts after sentencing, under the Criminal Procedure Rules 2012 and Senior Courts (Access to Court Documents) Rules 2017. In particular, the principles of open justice and the absence of any claim of prejudice to the defendant favour granting access. Access is granted on condition any publication identifies the facts proved against the defendant are only those set out in the actual judgment.

Apollo Bathroom and Kitchen Ltd (In Liq) v Ling
03 April 2019
[2019] NZHC 656

Liquidators claim for increased costs under each head of r 14.6(3)(b) of the High Court Rules 2016. Increased costs awarded, with the agreed sum of 2B costs uplifted by 25 per cent. The defendant failed, without reasonable justification, to accept an offer of settlement (subpara (v)). But a claim for increased costs must show how the losing party's conduct contributed unnecessarily to the time or expense of the proceeding or a step in it; the other heads of 14.6(3)(b) were not established.

R v Beazley
02 April 2019
[2019] NZHC 672

Sentence for murder. Man drove to Auckland from Rotorua to murder his estranged wife; knocked at the door of her address and stabbed her 18 times after she answered, while she was holding their two year-old son. Life imprisonment imposed. Both counsel agreed that s 104 of the Sentencing Act was engaged: offending was calculated, brutal, involved invasion of a dwelling house and a vulnerable victim. Both counsel further agreed that an MPI of 17 years or more was not manifestly unjust. Court adopted initial MPI of 18-and-a-halfyears, but reduced this to 17 years to reflect guilty plea at earliest reasonable opportunity (after defendant had been deemed mentally fit to stand trial) and lack of previous convictions. Court rejected mitigating factor of provocation as unfounded on the evidence.

Clark v Rural Livestock Ltd
02 April 2019
[2019] NZHC 671

High Court finds stock agency liable in contract and under the Fair Trading Act to farmer for cows purchased by farmer but either now missing or not delivered. Stock agent organised a number of transactions of animals which were irregular and resulted in losses to the farmer through the cows not being able to be found, not having AB records as expected, not being delivered and inadequate credit being given. Issues of agency and contributory negligence considered.

R v Tainui
28 March 2019
[2019] NZHC 626

Sentence of life imprisonment with minimum non-parole period of 28 years for murder, and preventive detention with minimum non-parole period of 12 years for rape. Application for life imprisonment to be served without parole  declined. Offending was premeditated, almost identical to previous murder conviction, committed while on parole, involved extreme violence and cruelty and caused irreparable loss and harm. Defendant considered to be a high risk to the community and in need of strong denunciation. No mitigating factors except guilty pleas, with one entered late and in the face of overwhelming evidence of guilt.

Body Corporate 329331 v Escrow Holdings Forty-One Ltd
28 March 2019
[2019] NZHC 600

The applicant Body Corporate sought an order under s 320 of the Property Law Act 2007, authorising its entry onto the respondents' neighbouring land, to carry out watertightness repairs to the structure on its own land. The applicant's apartment building abuts the respondents' parking building. The remedial work is required by notice of the Auckland Council. Discussions between the applicant and respondents had not been fruitful. HELD: Section 319( I) of the 2007 Act offers a significantly wider ambit for entry on to or over neighbouring land than its predecessor, s 128 of the Property Law Act 1952. Entry to neighbouring land is permissible either for the specified purposes in s 319( I )(a), or for any other necessary or desirable cause in relation to the applicant's land. Generally, relief may be granted where the court considers it just and equitable. Here, it is just and equitable the applicant be authorised under s 320 of the 2007 Act to enter part of the respondents' land to repair the building on its land. But the terms and conditions for such entry require further evidential support for the mandatory content of any orders to be made under s 320. Directions given to bring the proceeding to its conclusion.

R v Bublitz
27 March 2019
[2019] NZHC 592

Sentences imposed after judge alone trial. Defendants found guilty of breaching restrictions on related party transactions after forming plan to acquire two finance companies under the Crown guarantee and using the subsequent public investment to revive flagging investments. Defendants convicted of theft by person in a special relationship in respect of several loan transactions made between the two finance companies (Viaduct and Mutual) and a third company controlled by Bublitz (Hilltop). Bublitz was the principal offender, had the most investment at risk, exercised control over the finance companies and influence over the other offenders. Also convicted of making a false statement as a promoter for issuing prospectus for second finance company which did not disclose the related party transactions. Overall starting point of 5 years and 3 months adopted. McKay was the architect of the scheme and responsible for several transactions, but did not stand to gain significantly and acted under the influence of Bublitz. Starting point of 3 years, 3 months adopted. Blackwood less culpable than McKay, only joined the scheme after its inception. Received starting point of 2 years, 9 months. Discount of 30 percent given to all defendants after 5 years delay since charges filed, including a nine-month aborted trial. Further discount of 10 percent for cooperation during second trial, previous good character and limited element of remorse . Bublitz sentenced to 3 years, 2 months' imprisonment. McKay sentenced to 12 months' home detention. Blackwood sentenced to 9 months' home detention.

Durrant v New Zealand Police
26 March 2019
[2019] NZHC 582

Defendant charged with lighting fires in Nelson appealed against the District Court Judge's refusal to grant name suppression.  Appeal dismissed: the Judge did not err. Even with the new evidence which the appellant was permitted to adduce on appeal, the high threshold for suppression is not met. Further, the public interest in knowing the identity of the person charged outweighed the considerations personal to the appellant.


R v Rewa
26 March 2019
[2019] NZHC 577

Sentencing notes for Malcolm Rewa. Sentenced for the historical murder of Susan Burdett. Life imprisonment imposed concurrently with existing sentence.

R v King
22 March 2019
[2019] NZHC 537

Sentence for sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection, abduction for purpose of sexual connection, robbery, assault with a weapon and possession of an offensive weapon. Offender approached woman on her way to work, threatened her with knife and forced her to perform oral sex on him in a public toilet. Held starting point of 10 years, middle of band 2 of R v AM. Uplift of 12 months for previous convictions and offending while subject to release conditions. 25% discount for guilty plea, entered immediately after finding that offender was mentally fit to stand trial. No discount for mental health issues as not directly related to offending. MPI of two thirds imposed to protect community. Preventive detention sought by Crown but rejected. Offending an outlier in terms of criminal history- no
clear pattern of serious offending. Risk of sexual offending in future could be mitigated by intensive rehabilitation, which offender had never had an opportunity to engage with in the past. Lengthy finite sentence held to provide sufficient protection for community. End sentence of 8 years and 3 months' imprisonment, with MPI of 5 years, 6 months. First strike warning entered.

Gibson v Official Assignee
21 March 2019
[2019] NZHC 532

Official Assignee seeks to vary consent orders of the High Court. Capital + Merchant Finance Limited (the "Company") was put into liquidation in 2009, with the Official Assignee appointed as liquidator. Receivers had earlier been appointed. The Official Assignee secured $18.5m in settlement of the Company's claim against its former auditors. The auditor's insurer was involved in negotiations. The second respondent (Fortress) and third respondent (Perpetual) held general security agreements over the Company's assets. Each made claims of the $18.5m under their respective securities. The receivers issued the present proceeding, seeking directions as to the validity, priority and amount of the various claims. Consent orders were made in 2015, directing the Official Assignee to retain two "ring-fenced funds" in respect of each claim, to pay himself agreed salvage costs, and to pay the balance of funds to the receivers. Fortress' claim was resolved. Some of Perpetual's claim was resolved; the Official Assignee was only to retain $1.75m in relation to that claim. Perpetual eventually disclaimed entitlement to the remainder of the retention. It has since become apparent the settlement payment may impose a GST liability, with the possibility it may fall on the Official Assignee. The Official Assignee now seeks to have resort to the balance of the fund held by him to meet any such liability and associated expenses, including in seeking such variation. HELD: The effect of the consent orders is to leave the Official Assignee with no further claim to the balance of the settlement payment retained by him. The Official Assignee did not have regard for the Company's GST status. He cannot argue for any mistake in connection with his acceptance of the receivers' proposed consent orders. The interests of justice are better served by enforcing the consent orders. The Official Assignee should pay the remaining balance to the receivers to enable them to complete performance of their functions. The receivers' originating application is granted.

R v Kokiri
20 March 2019
[2019] NZHC 501

The defendant appeared for sentence on one charge of manslaughter, following an earlier sentence indication. The defendant, who was 17 years old at the time, attempted to steal items from a Countdown store. A scuffle ensued with the deceased, a security guard who tried to prevent him leaving. The defendant punched the deceased in the side of his head, causing him to hit his head on the concrete. He died from blunt force trauma to his head. HELD: Offending fell squarely into the category of single-punch manslaughter. A starting point of three years and nine months' imprisonment was adopted. An uplift of one month was applied as the offending occurred while the defendant was on bail. This brought the sentence to three years and 10 months' imprisonment. A global discount of 25 per cent for personal mitigating features was considered appropriate, to reflect the defendant's youth, remorse and prospects of rehabilitation. The full 25 percent discount for an early guilty plea was also available. While the traditional approach is to apply the guilty plea after the other adjustments to the initial starting point, this is not mandatory. Applying the discounts separately results in a sentence of between 25-26 months. Applying the discounts together results in a sentence of 23 months. The decision is whether the outcome of the process followed is the right sentence. The defendant is considered a good candidate for home detention in a supportive environment; in the Judge's view that would be the right sentence if a suitable residence had been available. Ultimately, a sentence of two years' imprisonment (24 months) was imposed. Leave granted for the defendant to apply to the Court for cancellation of that sentence and a substitution of a sentence of home detention if a suitable residence can later be obtained.

Sellman v Slater No 7
18 March 2019
[2019] NZHC 467

The High Court awards almost $25,000 of costs to three medical professionals for succeeding in interlocutory applications in their defamation proceeding against Cameron Slater, Carrick Graham and his company, Katherine Rich and the New Zealand Food and Grocery Council.

Cullen Group Ltd v Commissioner of Inland Revenue
12 March 2019
[2019] NZHC 404

In moving to the United Kingdom, Mr Eric Watson restructured a significant shareholding into debt owed by a New Zealand company, Cullen Group Ltd, to two Cayman Island conduit companies, all of which he still controlled to a high degree. This allowed Cullen Group Ltd to pay an Approved Issuer Levy totalling $8 million, rather than Non-Resident Withholding Tax of $59.5 million. The High Court has found this was a tax avoidance arrangement because it was not within Parliament's contemplation and purpose in enacting the AIL regime. Cullen Group Ltd is liable for the $51.5 million difference plus interest and penalties.

JK Trading Ltd v RimPro-Tec Ltd
08 March 2019
[2019] NZHC 376

Application by JK Trading Ltd for leave under s 248(1)(c) of theCA 1993 to continue its proceeding against RimPro-Tec Ltd. JK Trading was licensed to manufacture and sell RimPro-Tec's product. It sought damages arising from RimPro-Tec's repudiation of the contract. RimPro-Tec raised a number of counter-claims. RimPro-Tec was placed in liquidation before proceedings begun. JK Trading's claim in the liquidation was rejected. HELD: Leave to continue the proceeding against RimPro-Tec granted. Expedience of statutory liquidation process is primary consideration. But, here, liquidation essentially is concluded. Liquidators provided no foundation to assess the reasonableness of their rejection of JK Trading's claim. JK Trading's claim is not clearly unsustainable. JK Trading entitled to risk its own-non-recovery against RimPro-Tec. Although fruitlessness of the endeavour previously was seen as a disqualifying factor, the better view is once liquidators have rejected a claim and substantially concluded the liquidation, and absent prejudice to other creditors, and/or without otherwise unduly dissipating such funds as the company may have- the fact of an arguable case for relief is a sufficient threshold for leave to be granted to commence or continue proceedings against a company in liquidation. There is no risk granting leave may unfairly dissipate RimPro-Tec's assets. JK Trading will gain no improper advantage in pursuing its claim. There is no disqualifying delay present .

Oceana Gold (NZ) Ltd v Worksafe NZ & Cropp Logging Ltd v Worksafe NZ
07 March 2019
[2019] NZHC 365

Appeal against reparation orders made following convictions for breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act. Discussion of the effect of the amendment to s 32(5) of the Sentencing Act following the Supreme Court decision in Davies v Police.
1.An order for reparation for economic loss could be made in favour of a worker's family where the worker was killed as a consequence of the employer's breach.
2.The appropriate measure of reparation for economic loss was the statutory shortfall between the expected income and the compensation payments under the Accident Compensation legislation for the period the Accident Compensation payments will be made.

R v L
01 March 2019
[2019] NZHC 308

Contempt of court disposition. Interpreter in 10-week criminal trial approached jurors during lunchtime adjournment and told them she though the defendant was innocent. Factual basis for contempt found, but no penalty imposed. Strange nature of contempt, psychiatric evidence and experience of counsel showed contemnor suffering from acute psychotic episode at time of contempt. Name suppression granted- contemnor sole earner for family of five. If name published would seriously jeopardise her ability to continue working as an interpreter in other sectors. Doing so would also cause hardship to her son who has Downs Syndrome. Name suppression conditional on details of offending being given to Ministry of Justice so it can make informed decision as to her continued employment.

R v Leahy
28 February 2019
[2019] NZHC 290

Sentence of preventive detention (PD) imposed following a conviction for assault with intent to commit rape. A finite sentence of six years' imprisonment without parole, due to a second-strike warning, was insufficient to protect society. The finite sentence recognised prior convictions, a traumatic childhood and cognitive impairments. PD was ultimately imposed in light of a clear pattern of allegations and convictions for sexual offending. Alcoholism and cognitive impairments contributed a high risk of reoffending . Although lower than his finite sentence, a minimum period of imprisonment of five years was sufficient to protect the community because of the nature of a PD sentence.

Mainzeal Property and Construction Ltd (in liq) v Yan and Others
26 February 2019
[2019] NZHC 255
Media release

Successful action against former directors for breach of s 135 of the Companies Act. Following the extraction of funds by the shareholding group, the directors agreed to trade the company while insolvent. Reliance on expressions of support from the shareholding group unreasonable. The company also had a poor financial trading performance, and was liable to significant one-off losses, and it was accordingly vulnerable to failure.

The whole loss on insolvency was the starting point for assessing compensation under s 301, but discounted for discretionary reasons to approximately one third of the total loss. The Court ordered a combination of joint and several liability.

Gladvale Farms Ltd v Baty
25 February 2019
[2019] NZHC 249

Arbitrator had set costs in a dispute between farm owner and sharemilker, dating back to 2009. The sharemilker was successful on its claim but the farm owner was also successful to some extent on the counterclaim. The High Court largely upheld the Arbitrator's decision on costs and disbursements, except it was considered inappropriate for the farm owner to pay the full arbitration costs, given the parties' mixed successes. The award of $55,000 of the sharemilker's legal costs of $88,000 was upheld.

Apollo Bathroom & Kitchen Ltd (In Liq) v Ling
22 February 2019
[2019] NZHC 237

Apollo Bathroom and Kitchen Ltd (the "Company"), and liquidators, sought recovery of $400,000 (plus interest) from Ms Ling. The Company paid IRD $400,000 in satisfaction of Ms Ling's personal tax debts. The Company sought to recover the sum as money had and received; the liquidators alternatively sought to recover the sum under s 297 of the Companies Act 1993 (an undervalue transaction), s 348 of the Property Law Act 2007 (prejudicial disposition of property), or s 292 ofthe Companies Act (a voidable transaction). Ms Ling pleaded the payment to IRD was a discharge of the Company's liability to her for unpaid salary or wages. Issues arose regarding hearsay evidence- ss 17, 18 and 19 of the Evidence Act 2006 engaged. HELD: the money had and received cause of action failed; evidence did not establish the payment was made under a mistake of fact. Liquidators could recover under s 297 of the Companies Act; the payment to IRD was an undervalue transaction entitling them to recover the difference in value from Ms Ling- $400,000. Ms Ling did not prove the qualifying elements of a defence under s 296(3) of the Companies Act on the balance of probabilities. If s 296 (3) did afford a defence, its application was not established. While unnecessary to determine, the Judge may have required Ms Ling to pay reasonable compensation under s 348 of the Property Law Act, but would not have been prepared to set aside the transaction without knowing of the Commissioner's position on the transaction's setting aside. Liquidators entitled to $400,000, plus interest calculated in accordance with the Interest on Money Claims Act 2016 (but not exceeding the prescribed rate under s 87 of the Judicature Act 1908). Costs reserved.

R v Taimo
22 February 2019
[2019] NZHC 234

Offender sentenced for 95 charges of sexual offending against 17 victims over 30 years. Victims all young boys aged between 9 and 16. Offender teacher's aide, rugby coach and respected figure in local community. Applied cumulative sentences in respect of two groups of victims, distinguished by age and circumstances of offending. Combined starting point of 23 years. Reduced to 22 years for personal factors of remorse, historic abuse suffered by offender and age/ill health. MPI of 10 years. Preventive detention not imposed, largely because offender did not pose significant risk to community if released. Had shown some insight into offending and situational nature of offending (in addition with potential of ESO and registration as child sex offender) made it difficult to envisage how he could manufacture opportunity to offend in the future.

Commerce Commission v First Gas Ltd
22 February 2019
[2019] NZHC 231
Media release

First Gas, a large company providing reticulated gas transmission and distribution services in the North Island, and the Commerce Commission sought approval for a $3.4 M pecuniary penalty order against First Gas following its admission that it breached sections 27 and 46 of the Commerce Act when it acquired GasNet's gas assets in Papamoa and restrained it from business in the Bay of Plenty for 5 years. An injunction preventing the restraint from being enforced.

High Court approved the $3.4 M penalty and injunction saying it was within appropriate range for satisfying the objectives of the Commerce Act in light of the circumstances of the case.

Balloch v Police
21 February 2019
[2019] NZHC 227

Appeal against 26 months further disqualification for two offences of driving while disqualified in addition to prison sentence.

Trainor v Police
19 February 2019
[2019] NZHC 209

High Court holds driver being sentenced for driving while disqualified not able to avoid disqualification when, at time of sentencing, he is also disqualified for dangerous driving and had two convictions for dangerous driving within five years.

White v James Hardie New Zealand
18 February 2019
[2019] NZHC 188

James Hardie seeks security for costs in the White proceedings. The order is sought against the litigation funder Harbour Fund II L.P (Harbour) and the plaintiffs. Disclosure of the funding arrangements is also sought.

The plaintiffs in this case are not collectively impecunious. An order for security can nevertheless be made because of Harbour's involvement. Harbour's presence means the inherent jurisdiction to make an order for security against an overseas resident litigation funder is engaged. Security should be based on scale 3C for all attendances up to and including Stage 1 discovery and inspection.

Given the outcome of the security for costs application and the disutility of inquiry as to the scope of the ATE insurance, there is no reason to require disclosure.  The application for disclosure is declined.

Commerce Commission v Viagogo AG
18 February 2019
[2019] NZHC 187

Application for interim injunction­ proceedings brought under Fair Trading Act 1986- applicant alleges making of false and misleading representations on respondent company's website - application made on Pickwick basis - respondent not yet served formally.
Held: No jurisdiction exists allowing consideration and determination of application for interim relief- application dismissed.

R v Sanders
15 February 2019
[2019] NZHC 164

The defendant appears for sentence for wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and assault with intent to injure. This is the defendant's 'third strike' offence. Section 860(2) of the Sentencing Act applies, requiring the defendant to be sentenced to the maximum term of imprisonment for that offence (14 years). Under s 860(3), an order must be made this sentence be served without parole, unless it would be manifestly unjust to do so. The offending took place in prison. The defendant, alongside a co-defendant, struck another inmate using a shank-type weapon. It was serious offending of its kind. The defendant had an extensive criminal history and was assessed as highly likely to reoffend. But for the three strikes regime, a likely sentence would have been at least seven years' imprisonment, and a likely minimum period of at least 50 per cent. HELD: Parole ineligibility for the whole of the maximum term's duration would be grossly disproportionate. The co-offender's maximum sentence is only five years. For the wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, the maximum term of 14 years' imprisonment is imposed with a minimum period of imprisonment of sevenyears. For the assault charge, a sentence of twelve months' imprisonment. To be served concurrently with each other, and the sentence the defendant is presently serving.

R v Singh
14 February 2019
[2019] NZHC 148

Murder sentencing. The defendant appears for sentence having been found guilty by a jury of one count of murder. Section 102(1) of the Sentencing Act applies which requires the defendant to be sentenced to life imprisonment unless such a sentence will be manifestly unjust. The defendant was previously in a relationship with the victim. The defendant attacked the victim with two weapons in her home she shared with her parents. He immediately took steps to cover up his involvement, alleging he had been victim of a robbery. Sections 1 04(1)(b) ,(c) and (e) applied - the offending involved calculated planning, unlawful entry and a high level of brutality and callousness.

HELD: No mitigating circumstances. Imprisonment for life is appropriate and there is no suggestion that such would be manifestly excessive. Life imprisonment with MPI of 19 years imposed.

Coleman v Police
13 February 2019
[2019] NZHC 140

Argued that results of EBA test not allowed as evidence because driver had not been given uninterrupted 10 minutes to decide whether he wanted a blood alcohol test. Constable interrupted the period to talk to the driver because of concerns about his mental state and safety. After a half hour interruption, Police gave driver further 10 minutes to make decision about blood test. Driver elected not to have a blood test. High Court held there had been reasonable compliance with the driver's right to a 10 minute election period following advice.

R v Woods
12 February 2019
[2019] NZHC 122

Application under s 147 Criminal Procedure Act: Held that a jury, properly directed, could not reasonably be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that defendant caused the death of victim. Accordingly, he could not reasonably be convicted of either murder or manslaughter. Conclusion based substantially on a revised brief of evidence of the Crown's forensic pathologist, who had reassessed her earlier findings. In a supplementary brief of evidence, she explains why she is now satisfied that the evidence of compression to the victim's's neck cannot confidently be said to have played a role in her death. In light of her revised opinion, the Crown has not resisted the defence application to have the charge dismissed.

In these circumstances, the charge against the defendant must be dismissed.

R v Lima Terry Feleti
07 February 2019
[2019] NZHC 94

Sentence for manslaughter.
18 year-old defendant threw metal tool at victim after dispute in workplace. Tool struck victim in left cheek just below eye, causing fatal penetratinginjury. Comparison drawn with one-punch manslaughter cases, in particular R v Rakete.
Starting point of 3 years adopted. Uplift of 2 months for offending on bail. Discount of 20% for youth and 5% for remorse (defendant had taken responsibility for actions and offered to engage in restorative justice). Further discount of 1 month for time spent under 24 curfew and 25% guilty plea discount.
Final sentence of 1 year, 8 months' imprisonment commuted to 10 months home detention due to strong chances of rehabilitation.

R v Hanara
05 February 2019
[2019] NZHC 78

Murder sentencing. A physical altercation arose between the victim and a group of young people, including the 14-year-old defendant. As the victim was retreating, the defendant stabbed him four times to the chest and neck, severing his carotid artery. Mitigating circumstances of youth and mental impairment were not such as to render a sentence of life imprisonment manifestly unjust. While circumstances of the offending would normally warrant a minimum period of imprisonment (MPI) of more than ten years, it was concluded that the circumstances of the offender were such as to justify the imposition of an MPI of ten years, the statutory minimum under s 103 of the Sentencing Act 2002.

R v Thompson
05 February 2019
[2019] NZHC 72

Murder sentencing. Tenant of rural cottage shot landlord at close quarters. Victim 78 and defendant 68. Defendant had made periodic threats to shoot the landlord, loaded the shotgun before the fatal meeting and discouraged others at the scene from offering assistance. No remorse. Section 104(1)(e) applied - high level of callousness involved. Mitigating circumstances of mental disorder, no previous convictions and guilty plea would dictate an MPI of 13 years and two months. Disparity between that and 17 years would render sentencing under s 104 manifestly unjust. Life imprisonment with MPI of 13 years and two months imposed.

Taylor v Roper
21 January 2019
[2019] NZHC 16

Claim for costs. R's entitlement reduced by 50% because he lost on issue of whether the acts occurred. Further reduction not made. R's conduct towards M heinous, but costs not to be used to penalise conduct the subject of the substantive claim. That was the function of the law governing the substantive claim. M unsuccessful in her substantive claim. Costs not to be used as backdoor means of granting relief to a plaintiff who failed to get claim past front door. Further reduction or refusal inconsistent with principles underpinning costs regime. R left with significant costs burden, despite being successful party, but that was ordinary consequence of applying costs rules.

case summary only available : R v Venod SKANTHA
14 January 2019
[2019] NZHC 7

The High Court has declined an application for the trial of Dr Skantha to be moved away from Dunedin. Justice Nation held that it will be possible to empanel a jury for Dr Skantha's trial in Dunedin that will be able to keep to their judicial promise to reach a verdict solely on the evidence that is put before them.

Justice Nation said he was satisfied that it would be possible to hold Dr Skantha's trial in Dunedin before a jury which will be able to reach a verdict solely on the evidence, uninfluenced by feelings of prejudice or sympathy.

The trial is likely to occur in the latter half of 2019.

R v Fakaosilea & Anor
17 December 2018
[2018] NZHC 3362

Sentencing of two co-defendants involved in the largest ever importation of methamphetamine.  Both pleaded guilty and appeared for sentence.

Mr Fakaosilea was sentenced to 22 years and nine months' imprisonment, with a minimum period of imprisonment of eight years and nine months, on the charge of importation of methamphetamine. He was one of the least culpable codefendants, although sufficiently important in the operation to be present during the unloading of the methamphetamine.

Mr lusitini was sentenced to 25 years and seven months' imprisonment, with a minimum period of imprisonment of ten years, on the charge of importation of methamphetamine. He was one of three co-defendants who held an organisational role in the offending. Parity with co-defendants justified the sentences in both cases.

R v Hura
17 December 2018
[2018] NZHC 3347

Sentencing of Mr Hura and Mr Pulemoana for their roles in the deaths of Raymond and James Fleet. Mr Pulemoana was found guilty of the murder of James and manslaughter of Raymond and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum period of imprisonment of 14 years. Discounts given to Mr Pulemoana for remorse and offer to plead guilty. Mr Hura was found guilty of the manslaughter of both men, and possession charges related to the manufacture of methamphetamine. He was sentenced to six years' imprisonment, receiving discounts for youth, mental factors, remorse and time spent on restrictive bail conditions.

R v SM
17 December 2018
[2018] NZHC 3345

Sentencing for manslaughter of Norman Kingi. 15 year-old (SM) stabbed Mr Kingi once to the chest.  Mr Kingi and his partner found SM and two other girls breaking into their car. Mr Kingi's partner detained one of the girls and was going to call the police. SM and the other demanded her release. Mr Kingi came toward SM at which point she stabbed him. Judge adopted starting point of 6 years. Applied discounts of 35% for youth and 15% for her offer to plead manslaughter prior to trial. 5 month reduction for time spent on EM bail. End sentence of 2 years, 11 months. Permanent name suppression granted. 

R v Chase, Clarke & Griffin
14 December 2018
[2018] NZHC 3332

Whakapumatanga Clarke sentenced to life imprisonment with an MPI of 17 years for the murder of Taupo man, Scott Henry, in July 2017. Cody Griffin sentenced to ten years and nine months imprisonment, without parole (second strike offence) for the manslaughter of Mr Henry. Daniel Chase sentenced to 8 years and one month imprisonment for aggravated robbery, with an MPI of 50%.

Sheffield Properties Limited v Kapiti Coast District Council & Ors
13 December 2018
[2018] NZHC 3290

This was a successful application for an order striking out an application by Sheffield Properties Ltd (Sheffield) for judicial review of the Kapiti Coast District Council's decision on a Private Plan Change relating to land within the Kapiti Coast Airport zone. The proceedings were barred by s 296 of the Resource Management Act 1991 which required the applicant to exhaust its rights of appeal which it had not done. The judicial review proceedings were also held to have been brought with undue and prejudicial delay, and to be an abuse of process, the predominant ulterior purpose having been to protect Sheffield's commercial interests.

R v Borrell
12 December 2018
[2018] NZHC 3281

Sentencing on charge of murder caused by one stab wound to the chest.
Result: Sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum period of imprisonment of 10 years.

Aotearoa Water Action Incorporated v Canterbury Regional Council & Ors
10 December 2018
[2018] NZHC 3240

This case was a successful application for declarations that three resource consents to take water did not authorise the change in the use of the consents from freezing works and wool scour respectively, to using the water for bottling and export overseas. The Court clarified that, in ascertaining the scope of the consents, it was permissible to have recourse to the contents of the original application for the consent and its supporting documentation, even when the consent was not ambiguous on its face and did not refer back to the application.

R v Whiting-Roff and Ors
10 December 2018
[2018] NZHC 3239

Sentencing for three defendants: Brayden Mark Whiting-Roff - murder and a charge of assault; Christopher James Brown - murder; Laura Elizabeth Joy Scheepers - manslaughter.


Brayden Mark Whiting-Roff: on the charge of murder sentenced to life imprisonment with an MPI of 12 years six months. On the charge of assault sentenced to two months' imprisonment with an MPI of 10 years.

Christopher Brown - on the charge of murder sentenced to life imprisonment with an MPI of 10 years. 

Laura Scheepers - on the charge of manslaughter sentenced to 12 months' home detention on conditions proposed in the pre-sentence report. 

Cullen Group Ltd v Commissioner of Inland Revenue
10 December 2018
[2018] NZHC 3238

Kea Investments Ltd is granted access to the court file of Cullen Group Ltd's tax challenge in the interests of open justice and to facilitate the orderly and fair administration of justice in contributing to enforcement of a foreign judgment.

Attorney-General v Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand Incorporated
07 December 2018
[2018] NZHC 3211
Media release

Application for judicial review by Attorney-General granted in relation to decision by the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand Incorporated when it discontinued disciplinary proceedings against Dr Reay, whose company designed the CTV Building in Christchurch which collapsed in the Canterbury earthquakes, killing 115 people. Declarations issued that the Institution has jurisdiction to investigate, hear and determine the complaint and that the Institution was wrong in law to dismiss the complaint.

R v Kelly
07 December 2018
[2018] NZHC 3183

Representative charge of dealing in a young person for sexual exploitation. Victim only 14. Defendant 19. Four year starting point adopted. Mitigating factors reduced sentence to two and a half years' imprisonment. Discussion of relevance of maximum penalty of 14 years, particularly in absence of appellate guideline.

R v Tarawa
06 December 2018
[2018] NZHC 3205

The defendant appears for sentence having pleaded guilty to one charge of manslaughter following acceptance of a sentence indication. The victim was driving a vehicle that cut across the defendant's lane, nearly hitting the defendant's vehicle. The defendant had to brake to avoid a collision. The defendant's pregnant partner was a passenger. The defendant followed the white van which turned in to the victim's driveway some way down the road. The victim and the defendant got out of their vehicles and argued about the near miss. Neither the victim or the defendant took the advice of the pregnant passenger to stop the exchange and the argument escalated. The victim pushed the defendant in the chest and the defendant responded by punching the defendant twice; the final punch was to the head and knocked the victim backwards, his head striking the concrete and making him immediately unconscious. Without checking the victim's condition, the defendant left the scene. The victim was taken to hospital but deteriorated quickly and died the next day. HELD: The Judge, taking into account the aggravating factors of the offending and comparing them with the circumstances of other cases, determined that a starting point of three years and nine months' imprisonment would be appropriate to reflect the seriousness of the offending. The Judge considered that the confinement of severely restricted EM bail conditions on the defendant's liberty over the ten month period justified a discount of six months imprisonment. The defendant was and remains of an age when young men can be guilty of impulsive and impetuous behaviour without fully comprehending the possible consequences of their actions. The reliance on neurological differences for young people is based on neurological science which has established that those parts of the human brain which control impulses and reasoning and the assessment of risk are the last to become fully formed. The Judge recognised that, to a degree, the impulsive, reckless response which caused the victim's death can be attributed partly to the defendant's youth. The Judge considered a 20 per cent discount for his youth is appropriate. That produces a reduced sentence of two years and seven months' imprisonment. The defendant indicated a willingness to participate in a restorative justice conference and respected the wishes of the victim's family, in a letter addressed to them, when that was declined. The Judge accepts the defendant's sentiments as genuine and considered a discount of two months was an appropriate reduction in the circumstances. The Judge is satisfied that credit should be given for the full 25 per cent available for the defendant's guilty plea. That brings the sentence down to one years and nine months' imprisonment. As the sentence is a short term sentence of under two years, the defendant is eligible for home detention. The Judge is satisfied that a sentence of home detention, combined with a substantial period of community work, would meet the sentencing purposes and principles applicable to this case. The defendant is sentenced to ten months' home detention. The defendant is also sentenced to 400 hours of community work.

R v Curry
05 December 2018
[2018] NZHC 3188

Repeat serious sexual offender sentenced to preventive detention (PO) with five year MPI. In recognition of background of deprivation and abuse and its contribution to his offending discount given in calculating starting point. The defendant posed a high risk of serious sexual offending upon release from prison unless significant rehabilitative steps taken to understand and address causes of offending. Finite sentence with conditions unlikely to mitigate risk of intermittent acts of spontaneous and sexual violence. Preventive detention appropriate where offender has resisted acknowledging his problem because PO requires full engagement in treatment and acceptance of responsibility for rehabilitation.

Murren v Schaeffer
05 December 2018
[2018] NZHC 3176

Judgment concerns a claim for damages based on misrepresentations made by the defendant to the plaintiffs that caused them to invest in the Woollaston/Mahana vineyard near Nelson. Causes of action based upon negligent misstatement, breach of the Fair Trading Act and the Nevada Deceptive Trade Practices Act have succeeded. Causes of action based upon deceit and fraudulent misrepresentations have failed. Damages totalling USD 2,301,220.88 plus interest awarded to the plaintiffs.

Urlich v Far North District Council
04 December 2018
[2018] NZHC 3170

Global Fibre8 Ltd found to be negligent and having engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct in supplying K3T wall panel system and designing its  installation. Damages awarded to Mr and Ms Urlich on formal proof. 

R v Julian
04 December 2018
[2018] NZHC 3165

SENTENCING. Defendant pleaded guilty to one representative charge of permitting her premises to be used for the manufacture of methamphetamine and one representative charge of supply of methamphetamine. Her property was one of many used in the commercial manufacture of methamphetamine.
HELD: Sentenced to 10 months' home detention given the defendant's good prospects of rehabilitation, and in particular the support offered by her friends and family. On an overall starting point of two years and nine months, a three and a half month discount for time spent on EM bail, and a 25 per cent guilty plea discount were applied.

R v Te Kani
29 November 2018
[2018] NZHC 3134

Richard Te Kani is sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment after pleading guilty to two charges of manslaughter, one charge of manufacturing methamphetamine, two charges of accessory after the fact to murder, and four charges of neglect of a child.


R v Wilson
29 November 2018
[2018] NZHC 3117

Sentencing - offender had been found guilty by a jury of sexual offending against three separate complainants between 1972 and 1980 - standing alone, the offending would have warranted a starting point of between ten and 12 years imprisonment applying sentencing standards at the time of the offending - in 1996 the offender had been sentenced to 21 years imprisonment on charges involving sexual offending against numerous female complainants that occurred between 1972 and 1994 - the charges that related to the period between 1972 and 1985 attracted a sentence of eight years imprisonment - held that if the present charges had been considered at the same time as the earlier charges a sentence of ten years eight months imprisonment would have been imposed to reflect the totality of the offending - starting point of two years eight months imprisonment selected - discount of four months to reflect the fact that the offender will serving the new sentence of imprisonment at the age of 72 years - end sentence two years four months imprisonment.

Fuji Xerox NZ Ltd v Whittaker
14 May 2018
[2018] NZHC 1043

A law firm asks to access documents in relation to a proceeding not yet determined. The Court analyses the meaning of "a register or an  index" in r 4 of the Senior Courts (Access to Court Documents) Rules 2017. The reference does not appear elsewhere in the Act, Senior Courts Act 2016, or other legislation. Giving it a contextual meaning, Court held it cannot mean any register or index that happens to be kept in a registry (for instance, an index of registry staff contract details). Instead, "a register or an index" is interpreted to include any list of 'documents' or 'court files', as those terms are defined in r 4.

Formerly, the registry maintained a register, into which was entered the civil proceedings filed in each court's registry - each court file containing an index of the documents collected in it. Now there is an electronic database, from which may be generated user-defined lists of its contents. Among those is a document styled 'Register of documents filed', which is produced for each civil proceeding. The Court interprets the request for access to the "proceedings index" to be to the register of documents filed in the present proceeding, being "a register or an index" to which there is a public right of access.