A decade of legal action against Whanganui District Council has been brought to a halt by the first Environment Court ruling of its kind.
Adrian Neil Page has been restricted from taking further action against the council in relation to a dispute that dates back to 2008 over earthworks at an Ikitara Rd property.
The Environment Court has never considered such an order since the provision was put into the Resource Management Act last year.
In a written decision, Judge David Kirkpatrick said he was conscious it would "diminish Mr Page's access to the court".
"But the course of the proceedings over nine years goes beyond any reasonable degree of latitude that the court can properly give to a litigant whose applications have been repeatedly dismissed and, further, held to be vexatious on numerous occasions."
Vexatious litigation is defined as legal action which is brought, regardless of its merits, solely to harass or subdue an adversary.
The dispute began in 2008 when the council issued an enforcement notice to stop earthworks at a property in Ikitara Rd.
The council prosecuted Page for ignoring those orders in 2009.
In a 2011 trial, the Whanganui man originally pleaded not guilty to charges, including reckless damage of property, diversion of water with intent to cause damage or loss, contravention of an abatement notice, and contravention of an enforcement order.
However, he changed his plea to guilty on the second day of the trial.
Since then Page has continued to seek numerous rulings and rehearings related to the case and earlier this year lodged further proceedings in the Environment Court.
But the council hit back with its own legal bid to strike out Page's applications and have Page restricted from pressing further proceedings.
Judge Kirkpatrick's decision noted: "Mr Page did not provide any clear identification of any new evidence ..." and that he "alleged an issue of errors in jurisdiction but did not specify any such alleged error".
"Mr Page also included in his application allegations of fraud, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and cheating on the part of the council and this court."
Judge Kirkpatrick said "those are extremely grave allegations" and "documents filed included nothing that would support such allegations".
The council argued there had been tolerance for Page's litigation — particularly because he was self-represented.
But it said: "Now these matters were causing costs to both the council and the court".
It also pointed out the enforcement orders had been cancelled because the property had been sold.
Judge Kirkpatrick said Page had opportunities to raise new information with the Environment Court, the High Court and the Court of Appeal.
"Rather than having found any new information ... I conclude that Mr Page simply does not accept the findings that have been made by this court and the higher courts."
He said all subsequent proceedings had been "without any objective merit and unlikely to succeed", adding that Page was "exposing the council to disproportionate inconvenience and expense."
The council needed to be protected from "the trouble and expense of responding to meritless proceedings", Judge Kirkpatrick said.
Page's applications were dismissed and he is restricted from commencing or continuing proceedings in the Environment Court on anything related to the case for three years.