NBR's Moses story becomes legal case study

Roger Moses in June 2012, a month after his release

NBR’s exclusive story on the remarkable fall from grace of Nathans Finance chairman Roger Moses is going to be used as a case study for New Zealand law students.

Last week Moses opened up to NBR about his role in the events leading up to the collapse of Nathans and his subsequent imprisonment for gross negligence.

Shelley Griffiths, a lecturer in the Law Faculty at Otago University, says she found the story “very illuminating”.

“I think the article would be a very useful learning resource and I would be grateful if you could make it available,” she said.

Ms Griffiths, who is a specialist in securities regulations, plans to feature the story in a course she is running on securities market regulation and the role of criminal law in this area.

One of  New Zealand’s most distinguished High Court judges has also shared his views with NBR ONLINE on the role of  directors in failed companies such as Nathans and the penalties imposed on them.

Sir Owen Woodhouse, who was president of the Court of Appeal between 1981 and 1986, says it’s “a civil problem, not a criminal problem, but they’ve put a criminal sanction on it”.

“In the ordinary kind of way if you are careless with other people’s money that’s not a criminal act, but they’ve made it a crime and I’m a bit surprised, to tell you the truth.”

Sir Owen (95) talks about his life and times in NBR ONLINE's Weekend Review.

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Breach of contract is also now criminalised, as Allan Ludlow found out. In fact the offence of 'theft by a person in a special relationship' does not require any theft, in the conventional sense, nor does it require that the person have a 'special relationship' with anyone, in the conventional sense of having a fiduciary duty toward someone, either. In fact it appears that a person can be charged with theft in relation to property in which they have full and exclusive legal and beneficial ownership.

Breach of ordinary commercial goods trade credit terms that are in ordinary commercial practice never complied with would likewise qualify as theft by a person in a special relationship: Standard commercial terms are for retention of title and an interest in the proceeds held by the supplier of goods until payment is made, and for the purchaser to segregate the unpaid goods from the paid for goods so that the supplier can determine which goods they have a security interest in. Failure to comply with such terms, even though in practice almost no one complies, meets all the requirements of sec 220 of the Crimes Act and makes one a 'thief'. This section makes most of the commercial community 'theives' and probably most individuals as well.

The SFO is now using this section to go after the directors of failed finance companies for what would otherwise not be a criminal offence whatsoever. The reason they are using this section is that it is the easiest to prove because it does not involve what its title states, as it essentially amounts only to intentional breach of contract in relation to any property, even potentially property legally and beneficially owned by the person being charged.

For example, if a car hire business agrees to hire a specific car to a specific person at a specific time, and then intentionally breaches that contract to hire it to someone else instead, they are a theif in relation to their own car. And if the hiree intentionally breaches any term of the hire contract, likewise he is a theif.

Such is black-letter statutory criminal law. It has no relation to the customs and standards and practices of the community and does not seek composition of any dispute or contention or restitution for anyone who suffered a loss as a result of any wrongdoing.


Mate, the words are: "thief" and "thieves". You undercut your message by misspellings.


i before e except after c, except sometimes? Yeah, I should know that or use the spellcheck. Apologies.


What Moses did was criminal in every sense - losing investors' money by being reckless, careless and obviously, unrepentant. Remember Reeves Moses and the collapse of the contributory funds? This time he did not get away.

Judges in NZ are empowered with a wide range of judicial imperatives when sentencing.

Good on the judge in this case for recognizing that Moses is a CRIMINAL.


What a joke

Roger Moses should be remembered for what he did, not how he felt hard done by a prison term and how difficult thatw as for him.

The only example made should be that of how a convicted criminal is still unrepentant after serving his jail term.

Don't glorify this crim


Instead of Moses wearing his heart on his sleeve, I'd rather he eviscerated himself and lay out the entrails.


Should be a case study for the journalism course as well.
How to regurgitate a load of self-serving twaddle and get it published; how to write an article without doing any research into the subject; how to deify a deadbeat; whitewashing a commercial hazard ... the possibilities are endless.


did moses get paid for this interview?


It looks more like an advertorial that he would have paid for.

I do not understand what this P.R. spin is doing dressed up as journalism.

First there was Reeves Moses, then Nathans - where is the investigation into how Nathans lost virtually all the investors funds on vending machines while claiming to have a diverse lending book?



Looks like the old boys club supporting one of their group after his fall from grace

Hopefully not the resurrection of Roger Moses for the third time/\. Roger Moses needs to retire gracefully and use his energy in the garden where it might be appreciated - or I suppose the gardens of some of his invetsors who can't afford a gardener these days.


Does he really expect anyone to feel sorry for him ?

How can this P.R rubbish be taken seriously ?


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