Liquidator can't take theft case to Supreme Court

The  Supreme Court, Wellington, New Zealand. Photo/file
The Supreme Court, Wellington, New Zealand. Photo/file

A Nelson liquidator convicted of theft by a person in a special relationship has lost a bid to take his case to the Supreme Court.

Patrick Norris, of Norris Management Services, was appointed liquidator of a property development firm called Astra Enterprises in 2009.

Norris received around $80,000 of Astra's assets while he was the company's liquidator and this was deposited into his company's accounts. It was largely used to repay his and Norris Management's debts.

Companies Office inspectors probed the Astra liquidation in 2011 after being contacted by one of Norris Management's former employees. Norris told the Companies Office the $80,000 had been spent on his fees and the matter was then referred to the police, which brought a case against him.

The Crown alleged that little work had been done on the Astra file and Norris had created $80,000 worth of invoices to try to justify the dissipation of the funds.

Norris response was that he could prove he had done all the work if he could find the Astra file, which he discovered was missing when the Companies Office official visited him.

After a trial in the Nelson District Court last year, Norris was convicted of a single charge of theft by a person in a special relationship.

He was sentenced to 10 months' home detention, 100 hours of community and ordered to pay around $31,000 to a set of Astra's creditors.

The liquidator, who is disqualified from directing a company until 2017, took his case to the Court of Appeal earlier this year, fighting his conviction and part of his sentence.

In a decision at the end of October, Justices Rodney Hansen, Ellen France and Jillian Mallon and dismissed the appeal of Norris' conviction and said he should instead pay reparations to Astra rather than the creditors directly.

Norris then sought to take his case to the Supreme Court, appealing against the refusal to quash his conviction, but his bid was denied on Wednesday by Justices John McGrath, William Young and Susan Glazebrook .

- NZ Herald

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