Court battle goes a decade

By Leigh Van der Stoep

The 12-year legal battle has cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Photo / File photo
The 12-year legal battle has cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Photo / File photo

A dispute between neighbours over a fenceline has resulted in an armed offenders squad call-out, a police inquiry and a 12-year legal battle costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Tauranga man Stanley Goodrick was charged in 1999 after armed police were called to deal with violent threats he allegedly made to his neighbour while serving him with a trespass notice.

The neighbour, Kevin Bastin, had a trespass order in place for Goodrick because of arguments over the boundary of their properties on Lochhead Rd, Te Puna, near Tauranga.

Goodrick, who lived at No 151, was charged with trespassing, assault and threatening to kill. Almost 12 years later, after two charges were withdrawn and he was discharged on a third at a retrial, Goodrick is seeking $660,000 compensation.

The case has reached the High Court at Rotorua, which ruled last month that although Goodrick "has been deeply aggrieved by the criminal proceedings" and could pursue his claim through the civil courts, it lacked jurisdiction to act.

Goodrick told the court the prosecutions had destroyed his life. He had been forced to sell his property and had spent almost $225,000 on the case.

On the day of the arrest, he had approached police for a trespass order against Bastin but was allegedly told he would have to serve it himself.

Goodrick said he issued Bastin with the order because he had "persistently entered on to [his] property when he was absent during the day and also at night-time" and had left gates open and damaged trees.

After apparent firearms threats, Bastin's wife called police and officers surrounded Goodrick's property. It emerged that he had no firearms.

Charges against Goodrick of trespass and threatening to kill were withdrawn after the Bastins declined to pursue the prosecutions.

In February 2000, after a jury trial, Goodrick was convicted and discharged of assault. He successfully appealed against that conviction and two years later was discharged without conviction but ordered to pay $75 in witness expenses.

Goodrick appealed again and the discharge without conviction was dismissed and he was refunded the $75.

That year, the Police Complaints Authority also dismissed a complaint by Goodrick of wrongful arrest.

In the High Court, Judge Cooper said the compensation claim was not under the appropriate legislation and he "might seek a claim in a civil action".

Bastin sold 153 Lochhead Rd in 2004. Neither party could be contacted for comment.

* This story has been updated from the original, which did not include that Goodrick had successfully appealed the discharge without conviction and the witness costs.

- Herald on Sunday

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