A roading contractor and senior Auckland council manager found guilty of corruption in the country's largest bribery prosecution will next week challenge their convictions and sentences in the Court of Appeal.
Stephen Borlase, of engineering firm Projenz, and Murray Noone, formerly of Auckland Transport, were convicted late last year of eight and six counts, respectively, of bribery and corruption after a seven-week trial.
This morning at the High Court at Auckland, during a hearing over police attempts to seize multiple properties and cars claiming they're the proceeds of crime, Borlase's lawyer Steven Lack opposed the police action and said an appeal had been launched.
Justice Christine Gordon allowed three weeks for Borlase to consider his position on the asset-seizure.
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The Court of Appeal confirmed the pair had lodged an appeal and it was scheduled to be heard on October 17. Borlase is appealing his conviction and sentence, and Noone is appealing his sentence alone.
The pair are in prison, after Borlase was sentenced in February to five-and-a-half years in jail, and Noone to five years.
During sentencing, Crown prosecutor Brian Dickey stressed the seriousness of the case: "This isn't shoplifting, this isn't misappropriation. This is offending that goes to the heart of New Zealand's public service and its ethics."
The trial of Borlase and Noone canvassed a network of transactions that saw Borlase's firm Projenz pay more than $1m to council staff.
In turn the company saw a rapid expansion of its council contracts that pushed initially modest revenues into the tens of millions.
The court heard evidence of a culture of largesse in the council's roading division, as Projenz laid on long lunches for staff - including an eight-hour affair at upmarket eatery Euro that cost $5500.
Projenz also treated council staff - including Noone, Borlase and others - to gifts of international holidays, fine wines and whiskies, and electronics worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.