A domestic violence case against an Auckland doctor has been thrown out of court after it emerged the complainant's father paid Crown witnesses.
The health professional, in his 40s, came before Auckland District Court yesterday but minutes before his trial was due to start, the Crown told Judge Rob Ronayne about the revelations that had become apparent over the weekend.
Prosecutor Kate Lawson-Bradshaw acknowledged the alleged victim's father had made payments to people who were going to give evidence for the Crown that day.
Shortly afterwards, the charge of assault was dismissed and the defendant walked away a free man.
With the allegation of violence from his estranged wife hanging over him for nearly two years, the man told the Herald of his relief that the ordeal was finally over.
"It was a trauma, man ... I've not done anything wrong," he said.
The doctor said defending the case had left him penniless and he claimed in contrast his father-in-law was a millionaire.
Now the man who allegedly paid the witnesses could be the one who ends up in the dock.
A police spokeswoman said they were aware of what had happened in court and the case was now with the officer in charge.
University of Auckland law professor Dr Bill Hodge said on the face of it there was a "strong case" for a charge of perverting the course of justice, or attempting to do so, to be laid.
However, he said it would depend on when the payments were made, how they were made and whether there could be another explanation for the money changing hands.
On November 2, 2014 - the day the alleged assault took place - the doctor said he was not even with his wife.
He also told the Herald there were no injuries nor any credible forensic evidence.
However, he refused to go into more detail about the specifics of the alleged altercation.
"It's not embarrassing but I don't want to talk about it at this point.
"We were separated at that time," he said.
"The case was all wrong.
"If it had gone to trial it would've been obvious.
"Any common-sense person would say, 'It's bulls***'."
Despite the claims of domestic violence and the fact his former partner went straight to the Medical Council to tell officials what had happened, the doctor refused to hold a grudge.
"She's still my wife and I don't want to harm her," he said. "Then there would be no difference between me and them."
The man said had it not been for his work he would not have coped.
"My distraction was my work. I spent most of my time there," he said.
"If I hadn't worked I may have died. The only thing in my life was my work."
The doctor's wife said she needed "time to absorb all this".
Her father could not be reached and she refused to pass on his contact details, saying the case was nothing to do with him.