New delay in Hotchin, Watson defamation case

Former Shareholders Association chairman Bruce Sheppard.  Photo / Richard Robinson
Former Shareholders Association chairman Bruce Sheppard. Photo / Richard Robinson

Hanover Finance's Mark Hotchin and Eric Watson's defamation case against Shareholder Association founder Bruce Sheppard now isn't due to begin until next April.

Hotchin and Watson are suing and seeking $7 million plus costs from Sheppard over what a judge called "severely critical" comments he made about the pair on television, radio, emails and on blogs concerning their involvement in Hanover's collapse.

The trial, which will be heard by a judge without a jury, was due to begin in August and originally set down for three weeks.

Last month it was adjourned until October but more recently has been put off against until next year because the plaintiffs' lawyer, Julian Miles QC, wasn't available.

The case is now due to begin on April 28 and is expected to take 5 weeks.

Gray said in court last month that his client, who is running the defence of qualified privilege and honest opinion, plans to call up to 25 witnesses.

Last year a Court of Appeal judgment said Hanover failed in mid-2008, causing substantial losses to depositors. About 16,000 people with investments totalling more than $500 million lost most of their money following the failure of Hanover and related companies, and the sale of assets to Allied Farmers.

- NZ Herald

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