Former mayor faces high court trial

By Patrick O'Sullivan of the Central Hawke's Bay Mail -
Photo / File
Photo / File

A date has been set for the trial of former Central Hawke's Bay mayor Hugh Hamilton on charges brought by the Serious Fraud Office and Financial Markets Authority.

The trial by jury is due to start on February 10 in the High Court at Auckland.

Hugh Edward Staples Hamilton, 61, faces multiple charges of theft by a person in a special relationship, making a false statement and making a false statement to a trustee.

Mr Hamilton was the legal adviser to failed Belgrave Finance, from which liquidators hope to recover 21 cents in the dollar.

Belgrave Finance went into receivership in 2008, owing about $20 million to about 1000 investors. It was liquidated in 2010.

The Crown says Hamilton was the legal adviser to three people who acquired the company with the intention of using investors' funds for their own benefit.

Two directors have admitted a number of charges, with one so far sentenced to three years.

Hamilton no longer holds a legal practising certificate and left the partnership of Waipukurau firm Davidson Armstrong and Campbell (DAC Legal) in 2011, after more than 20 years. The Belgrave receiver is pursuing the law firm for compensation. Auckland accounting firm Hayes Knight is also being pursued.

Hamilton served for six years as Central Hawke's Bay's first mayor and was Waipukurau Rotary Club president and Central Rugby and Sports Club chairman. He was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 1997 Queen's Birthday Honours.

In 2011, he faced bankruptcy over an unpaid brothel debt.

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