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.