Ex-finance director escapes trial due to cancer

By Edward Gay

Outside court Crown prosecutor Brian Dickey said Butler's situation would be reviewed after February. Photo / File
Outside court Crown prosecutor Brian Dickey said Butler's situation would be reviewed after February. Photo / File

A former Dominion Finance and North South Finance director has escaped trial because he has terminal cancer.

Terence Maxwell Butler is facing two charges of theft in a special relationship laid by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and was to stand trial next February at the High Court at Auckland.

Co-accused Robert Barry Whale, former Dominion Finance chief executive Paul William Cropp and a man with name suppression also face charges laid by the Serious Fraud Office. They have previously pleaded not guilty through their lawyers.

Butler entered court today with the help of a walking stick and sat in the public gallery.

He has filed an affidavit from his doctor. The Crown have also filed documentation.

Judge Pamela Andrews confirmed in court that the application was made on the grounds of Butler's "ill health".

The Crown did not oppose the application.

Outside court Crown prosecutor Brian Dickey said Butler's situation would be reviewed after February.

It is alleged that between 2004 and 2008, the defendants participated in unauthorised related-party lending totalling more than $20 million.

Dominion Finance Group (DFG) and North South Finance (NSF) were operating subsidiaries of the NZX-listed Dominion Finance Holdings (DFH). Both companies offered property and commercial loans.

DFG had been operating under various names since 1954 and was bought by Butler and his wife in 1987. It went into receivership in September 2008 and NSF went into receivership in July 2010.

DFH entered voluntary administration in October 2008 and was placed into liquidation in February 2009. In total, it is estimated the group owes creditors about $400m.

Butler declined to comment outside court.

- APNZ

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