Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Neighbours' dispute out of control: Judge

An Auckland neighbourhood dispute has "spiralled out of control" with one neighbour accused of shouting "defamatory remarks" about the other to visitors, according to a High Court judge.

Titirangi architectural consultant Paul Jenkin and his neighbour Herbert Faesenkloet have an "unfortunate history of incidents" and their latest dispute is over a CCTV camera at one of the properties.

Mr Faesenkloet, according to a High Court judgment, claims Mr Jenkin "blasts his horn at him, makes offensive remarks and gestures, pulls faces, acts bizarrely to visitors and is generally unpleasant".

And Mr Jenkin told the court last month that Mr Faesenkloet was guilty of "unneighbourly conduct".

Justice Raynor Asher described the dispute as irrational and said the men appeared to be "otherwise good members of the community".

In February Mr Jenkin installed a CCTV camera on the top of his garage after the building was vandalised a number of times since 2009.

Just before Christmas last year a new roller-door on the garage was dented and marked, Mr Jenkin told High Court last month.

Mr Jenkin believes Mr Faesenkloet caused at least some of the damage over the years but his neighbour denies this.

Mr Faesenkloet, who in 2009 attempted to get an order under the Harassment Act against Mr Jenkin, went to the High Court in April and obtained an interim injunction getting his neighbour to remove the camera.

Mr Jenkin did not have a lawyer appear for him during this hearing and applied last month to be able to reinstall the camera.

Mr Faesenkloet, in arguing to keep the camera removed, claimed it was an intrusion to his privacy and offensive. His lawyer argued the camera was a "deliberate and unreasonable provocation".

But Justice Asher said the section of the driveway being filmed was on council land. Because of this and the "relatively public nature" of the driveway's use, the judge concluded that there was no reasonable expectation of privacy in the area that was captured by the camera.

Justice Asher also said that the filming was not highly offensive.

He set aside the interim injunction that ordered the camera be removed.

The judge said the parties should settle this "most unfortunate dispute" and suggested a settlement conference should take place as soon as possible.

Mr Jenkin said he had installed the camera to protect his property and was standing up for his rights.

Mr Faesenkloet said he only wanted an apology from his neighbour and the removal of a sign on the garage where the camera was installed. "I just want the guy to leave me alone," he told the Herald.

Justice Asher said: "This present dispute must be seen as a symptom of a neighbour dispute that has spiralled out of control."

This story has been corrected from an earlier version.

- NZ Herald

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