Business Editor for the NZ Herald

Ex-All Black keeps up his bankruptcy fight

Kit Fawcett was declared bankrupt in 2010 over a debt owed on the Tairua Palms subdivision in the Coromandel.
Kit Fawcett was declared bankrupt in 2010 over a debt owed on the Tairua Palms subdivision in the Coromandel.

Ex-All Black Kit Fawcett - buoyed by the success of Christchurch property developer David Henderson's fight with the Official Assignee - is questioning whether charges against him were brought correctly.

Fawcett, who played two test matches for the All Blacks in 1976, was declared bankrupt in September 2010 over an outstanding $1.34 million debt to the Southland Building Society for money borrowed on a failed subdivision, the Tairua Palms Estate in the Coromandel.

The Hamilton resident would have been discharged automatically from bankruptcy in October last year but the Official Assignee opposed his release.

Shortly after this, the OA - which manages bankruptcies - laid two charges against Fawcett.

One alleges he ran a business between October 2011 and October 1 last year and the other that he ran a business between May 2012 and April last year.

Undischarged bankrupts cannot take part in the management of any business without the consent of the OA and the charges Fawcett faces come with a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment if he is convicted.

But Fawcett has written to the Hamilton District Court and says he wants the proceedings against him struck out. He says the application is due to be heard next month.

"The defendant is seeking for a stay and strike out of this proceeding...," Fawcett said in his memorandum.

"The applicant Christopher Fawcett has been unlawfully served two charging document by an employee of the ministry of business, innovation, and employment who did not have a current warrant to act as a prosecutor for the official assignee," Fawcett wrote.

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Fawcett alleged the Crown Law Office had acted unlawfully in bringing the charges when it did not issue a certificate under the relevant section of the Insolvency Act to the OA "certifying that they may proceed with the prosecution".

"The Crown Solicitor must certify to the official assignee that the prosecution can proceed...I believe that the crown law offices through out New Zealand may have been charging and prosecuting persons unlawfully," he wrote in his memo to the court.

As revealed in an earlier judgement, the OA said Fawcett had been closely involved with the management of two companies, JEC No 3 and Kingsland Station. These allegations form the basis of the charges laid against him.

JEC is a trustee of a trust settled mainly for the benefit of Fawcett's children.

The OA submitted during the hearing that Fawcett was a property manager for JEC.

He also allegedly removed JEC's director and substituted another man when the former refused to continue taking instructions, which included providing Fawcett signed blank cheques drawn from the trustee's current account.

Fawcett said his application followed on from the OA withdrawing charges against Henderson.

The OA had filed charges against Henderson for allegedly misleading authorities and obtaining credit of more than $1000 while bankrupt.

However, the prosecution last month withdrew the charges after concerns that the formal certification requirements under the Insolvency Act had not been met.

- NZ Herald

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