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Delamere forced to pay own legal costs of up to $1m

Former immigration minister Tuariki Delamere is to pay his own legal bill, estimated to have been around $1 million, even though he was acquitted on fraud charges.

Mr Delemare, who is now an immigration consultant, was acquitted on charges of using a document with intent to defraud, dishonestly using documents and of making a false document with intent.

However, his application to have the Serious Fraud Office pick up his costs was first turned down by the High Court and has now been turned down by the Court of Appeal.

The charges relate to a scheme devised by Mr Delamere that avoided people applying for a business investor visas from having to use their own money to invest in NZ – business investor applicants are required to invest at least $1 million in New Zealand for two years.

The case was heard in the High Court at Auckland in early 2007.

Justice Ellen France says in her judgement, that the High Court judge was correct to conclude that there was sufficient evidence of the charges with the exception of those on which the appellant was discharged.

“It follows from the above that this was a strong SFO case. It is not a case where the SFO overlooked matters that suggested Mr Delamere was no guilty,” she adds.

She says: “The costs to Mr Delamere were high both in terms of his actual costs and in a reputational sense. However, this and the other relevant factors were all considered by the Judge.”

As a result the court of appeal has dismissed Mr Delamere’s appeal application and declined leave for him to admit new evidence.

More by Lucy Craymer

Comments and questions
6

Can some one with the legal knowledge please explain this. If the SFO case was so strong ,how come they lost ? There does not seem to be much logic here or is it just the wording of the reporting.

My reading is that the Court did not have enough factual evidence to convict him with. But they knew he was as guilty as sin and this closed ranks when it comes to the legal costs.
Any tome someone is willing to spend a milliondollars, and have that much cash to commit to legal costs, one has to suspect that there has been some really big money flowing around. If that happens, someone is not being honest somewhere in the chain.

It is not unusual for white collar criminals to get off even though they are guilty as sin. They are smart enough to tread the fine line that means they can't be convicted, that is why they do the crime, they know they won't have to do the time!

Delamere had devised a clever scheme that exploited a loophole in immigration law and allowed people that did not have the required $1m to obtain residency by giving them access to $1m on a temporary basis. He did this to make himself money. The whole scheme was only border line legal, so it is only fair that he should have to pay the costs of defending it.

Yet another example of why our legal system is so faulty. In there quest to cover all the bases the law draughtsmen and women always leave loop holes.

The fix is to have principles based laws that allow for a Court to determine

And for those who call for certainty every case is different none are exactly the same and thats why prescriptive law is a waste of time Unless of course you are a defence lawyer.

This was a jury trial and the jury said "Not guilty". That means the charges were not proven. It does not mean he was innocent.

The Judges disallowed his appeal for costs because they knew from the evidence that he had exploited a loophole in the Immigration Act (which he sponsored in Parliament when Immigration Minister).

Perhaps he can get his $1 million from the same merry-go-round scheme he exploited that led to the charges being laid in the first place.