A witness in the Bella Vista trial has been challenged as to whether one of the defendants ever supervised his work on the project.

Luke Halsey testified late on Tuesday afternoon, saying he worked under bricklayer Darryl Joseph on some Bella Vista sites at the centre of the court case.

Joseph, Bella Vista Homes Limited, The Engineer Limited, their respective directors Danny Cancian and Bruce Cameron, are defending a raft of charges relating to carrying out building works which were not in accordance with the Building Act, in particular a building consent.

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The charges were brought by Tauranga City Council following the March 2018 evacuation of 21 homes in the Bella Vista development in The Lakes, prompted by concern the buildings were unsafe and non-compliant.

Joseph's defence counsel Tony Balme challenged Halsey as to whether his client ever supervised his work on-site or that there had ever been a conversation suggesting such a thing.

"Who has planted the idea in your head Mr Halsey, this idea that Mr Joseph was supervising your work on-site? Mr Joseph never discussed that with you, did he? ... It never happened, did it?

Some Bella Vista homes had to be evacuated and others were left incomplete after concerns were raised they were unsafe and non-compliant. Photo / File
Some Bella Vista homes had to be evacuated and others were left incomplete after concerns were raised they were unsafe and non-compliant. Photo / File

"Have you been asked to come along here today and asked to say Mr Joseph was your LBP (licenced building practitioner)?"

Halsey replied: "I haven't been asked to do anything."

The accusation came just hours after an exchange between prosecution counsel Richard Marchant and Cancian, in which Marchant told Cancian he was lying while giving evidence, which Cancian disputed.

When questioned by Cameron's defence counsel Noel King, Halsey was shown a large piece of D12 reinforcing steel, attached to a long piece of wood, which he then demonstrated its flexibility by bending it slightly from its centre.

Halsey told the court that in construction, such steel rods could move even though they may be tied to other steel rods.


Some of the charges involved in this case relate to reinforcing steel being placed at non-compliant measurements inside walls.

Halsey was then cross-examined by Marchant who put it to Halsey that despite the steel's ability to move, if wanted, "isn't the whole purpose of having steel in the wall so it doesn't move?"

Halsey replied: "There are so many rules and regulations that contradict each other. You would like to think that that's the case but in reality, that whole cage [steel tied together] can move."

After more questioning, Halsey confirmed it was the responsibility of the bricklayer LBP and engineer who issued the PS4 (producer statement certification) to check the reinforcing steel was in the appropriate places before moving on to the next stage of work.

Marchant: "Can you think of a reason why a person would want to deliberately move steel?"

Halsey said he could not think of a reason why someone would deliberately move it.

The trial continues.