The children of Dr Jim Sprott - a crusading forensic scientist who helped free Arthur Allan Thomas from prison - have gone to court over his $4.49 million estate.

Sprott and his friend, journalist Pat Booth worked closely for nine years on a campaign to produce telling evidence which led to Thomas being pardoned and freed for the 1970 murders of Harvey and Jeannette Crewe.

Sprott died aged 89 in April 2014 leaving behind property and assets for his three children - Lindsay Hoeberechts, Adrian Sprott and Alison Sprott.

The main asset of the estate was a property at Combes Rd, Remuera, which was valued at $2.75 million when Dr Sprott died and revalued in March this year at $4.4 million.


Hoeberechts, who lives in Canada, has taken her siblings to the High Court to remove her brother and a family friend as executors of her parents' estate.

She asked to appoint a new independent solicitor, alleging her siblings had failed to transfer the assets into their names and sell the property within a reasonable amount of time and had shown hostility towards her.

She also alleged her siblings were living at the property without acccounting for rent, and had failed to sell a Mercedes and give her an Alfred Sharpe painting and remaining chattels in accordance with the wills of her parents.

Hoeberechts asked that the court turn over the assets of the estates to a solicitor, provide inventories and an account of receipts and disbursements for both estates and provide information on two trusts sets up by her parents.

But Judge Woodhouse dismissed the application by Hoeberechts and concluded that Adrian Sprott should continue as an executor of the estate.

"It is clear that he has undertaken a lot of work in the practical management of the assets of the estates and has detailed knowledge in that regard and his continued involvement would be beneficial."

Adrian Sprott had removed a tree from the property and had sought consent for subdivision which had added to the value of the property.

The judge said the principal task for the executors was to get Combes Rd on the market and proceed with a sale in an appropriate way.

The friend had already asked to be removed as an executor and the judge decided another executor should be appointed.

The judge was also not convinced that Adrian Sprott had shown hostility towards Hoeberechts.

"The best evidence on this is the contemporaneous emails between Adrian and Lindsay. These do not indicate hostility on Adrian's part, or between the two of them."

Judge Woodhouse said Adrian Sprott's handling of the painting and transfer of chattels had been unsatisfactory but arrangements had since been made to deliver the painting and other items to Hoeberechts.

While the Mercedes had been transferred into Adrian Spott's name the judge said as it appeared there was no claim on the car by the sisters the car could go to him at the appropriate value and be accounted for as part of the estate being divided up.