Hallwright did not bring firm into disrepute - lawyer

Guy Hallwright. Photo / Steven McNicholl
Guy Hallwright. Photo / Steven McNicholl

Sharebroking firm Forsyth Barr was not brought into disrepute when its senior analyst Guy Hallwright was convicted for running a man over, and it was unjustified in sacking him, his lawyer says.

Hallwright is fighting to get his job back at an Employment Relations Authority hearing in Auckland today, after he was dismissed from his high-ranking position three months ago.

Hallwright's lawyer Kathryn Beck told the authority that Hallwright continued to work for Forsyth Barr for two years after the incident and his ability to do his job was never compromised.

She pointed to sentencing judge Raoul Neave's comments about the "vulgar" media coverage of the case, which she said was never about Forsyth Barr.

"The applicant's [Hallwright's] position is that this was not something that related to the workplace or the nature of the role that Guy undertook in any way at all, and there would have been no connection at all but for the media coverage,'' she said.

"There is no evidence that the respondent [Forsyth Barr] has in fact been brought into disrepute. We accept that Guy has been brought into disrepute but the employer has not,'' Ms Beck said.

The company could not provide evidence that it had suffered any damage to its reputation as a result of the case, nor that it had lost any business.

"The fact that he could and did continue to work is the strongest evidence that there was in fact no destruction to the relationship of trust and confidence,'' Ms Beck said.

Hallwright was dismissed after being sentenced to 250 hours ' community work and ordered to pay $20,000 reparation for breaking the legs of a man he ran over.

In June, a jury found him guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard following the incident in September 2010 in which Hallwright hit Sung Jin Kim with his Saab.

He drove off, and contacted police later about the crash.

The case, and Judge Raoul Neave's sentence, have been the subject of intense media scrutiny and criticism from Mr Kim, who requires ongoing treatment for his injuries.

The hearing continues.

- APNZ

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