Domestic violence charges against Chinese millionaire Donghua Liu have been dropped.
The police chose to not offer any evidence at the trial at the Auckland District Court this morning after both complainants recanted their previous statements. One complainant, Mr Liu's mother-in-law Lunju Wang, did not return from China for the trial.
Judge Russell Collins formally dismissed the charges of assaulting a woman, and assault with intent to injure, related to an incident at the Boulevard Hotel in Newmarket, the first stage of a proposed $70 million property development by one of Mr Liu's companies.
Court documents show his de facto wife, Juan Zhang, was the alleged victim of the more serious charge, assault with intent to injure, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in jail.
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Mr Liu had pleaded guilty to both charges in April last year but later applied to have the pleas changed in August, after it became clear his application for a discharge without conviction would not be successful and the police would not amend the summary of facts.
Judge Grant Fraser accepted the application to vacate the guilty pleadings, as he believed Mr Liu had a reasonable defence was needed and was under immense pressure to make up his mind about pleading guilty.
"Mr Liu has said over and over again that the summary of facts did not depict what actually happened on the night and the summary did not present the truth," Judge Fraser said in February when he allowed Mr Liu to withdraw his admissions.
Judge Fraser said there was a real risk of a miscarriage of justice if the charges were not tested in court.
Mr Liu was not in court today to learn that the charges against him would be withdrawn, but his supporters in the public gallery were audibly relieved.
The criminal charges have dogged Mr Liu since a Herald investigation revealed the property developer's links to the National Party.
Maurice Williamson was forced to resign as a minister when it was revealed that he had told police Mr Liu was a big investor in New Zealand after he was arrested.