A Napier woman, self-proclaimed corruption investigator and former police prosecutor has been fined $5000 for repeated breaches of a suppression order made by the Lawyers and Conveyancers Tribunal.
Grace Haden, 64, and recently reprofiling herself as an investigative journalist after losing a licence to operate as a private investigator, appeared as counsel on her own behalf denying all five charges in a two-hour hearing in the Napier District Court yesterday.
But Judge Tony Adeane found her guilty, and convicted and fined her $1000 on each charge, plus court costs of $130, and prosecution costs of $500.
The charges related to blog posts earlier this year by Haden, who in 2005 was quoted as saying she had left the police 16 years earlier and had served for 15 years.
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Police prosecutor Sergeant Dean Goodall called evidence from just two witnesses — a Minister of Justice v Tribunals Unit case manager and a detective — at the hearing in which Haden claimed she couldn't have known the suppression order, involving a lawyer who once successfully sued her for defamation, was in place.
Haden told the judge his decisions proved there was corruption, but the judge said it was clear she had breached the order and the maximum available fine of $25,000 for each breach highlighted legislation's concern for the upholding of such decisions.
He also declined Haden's application for suppression of details of yesterday's hearing, saying it was a matter of public interest.