June 27, 2017
Love appeal fades despite fading memory
The Court of Appeal has turned down an appeal by former Wellington Tenths Trust chair Sir Ngatata Love against a conviction for fraud.
Dr Love is serving a two and a half year prison sentence for concealing from the trust $3 million paid to develop land it owned near parliament.
The money was used to pay down a loan on a Plimmerton house bought by Dr Love and his co-accused Karen Skiffington.
The appeal claimed he was wrongly found fit to stand trial despite mental impairment.
The court said while the 80-year-old has dementia, probably from Alztheimers disease, the trial judge was satisfied he understood the trial process and retained the ability to instruct his lawyer and provide an explanation for the allegations underpinning the charges.
The conviction relied not on the memories of witnesses but on the clear document trail, and the judge did not believe Dr Love’s defence he knew nothing about the carefully planned deception.
The court also rejected an appeal against sentence, saying it was well within range, if not merciful.
Dr Love’s family said it believes the decision was a further miscarriage of justice, and the full story has still not been told.
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