Disgraced principal quits as JP after fraud conviction

By Amelia Romanos

Martin Elliott pleaded guilty in January. Photo / Christine Cornege
Martin Elliott pleaded guilty in January. Photo / Christine Cornege

Disgraced former Hamilton principal Martin Elliott has resigned as a justice of the peace after his conviction for fraud this year.

Elliott, who was the principal of Fraser High School, pleaded guilty in January to two charges of using a document for pecuniary advantage.

He was sentenced last month to 40 hours' community work.

The charges related to incidents in 2006 and 2009 in which he used altered invoices to obtain about $6000. In one case, Elliott had work done on his personal property that was invoiced as part of a school construction project.

Elliott originally faced 64 charges of fraud, including money laundering, and was to go on trial this month, but all but the two charges he pleaded guilty to were thrown out.

Last week, Associate Justice Minister Chester Borrows requested Elliott resign as a JP and and yesterday he announced he had received and accepted his resignation.

Elliott could not be reached for comment.

Mark Hammond, one of the lawyers who acted for him, said there were "obvious repercussions" for his client and that he was suffering from those.

"He's been through a lot and he's finding it quite hard to get himself re-established again so, yeah, I think the effects on him have been quite severe."

Mr Borrows said Elliott had made a submission that the conviction should not prevent his continuing as a JP, but he had disagreed.

"Mr Elliott defrauded the school he was entrusted to run, and to allow him to remain in office would bring disrepute to the office of justice of the peace," the minister said.

JPs had "always been people of high standing in our communities. The nature of their role means they must be people of unquestionable honesty and integrity".

After Elliott's conviction, Royal Federation of New Zealand Justices' Associations registrar Alan Hart said the association had "suggested" to Elliott that he resign.

"We are pleased to see this issue resolved because it reflects on all of us."

- APNZ

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