Ex res­i­dent will be ar­rested on re­turn

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

A for­mer Wanaka woman – who works as a geisha in Ja­pan – has cost the coun­cil almost $800,000 in le­gal fees over the years since a dis­pute about sub-stan­dard ac­com­mo­da­tion.

Ear­lier this month, Supreme Court Jus­tice Wil­liam Young heard an ap­pli­ca­tion by Fiona Caro­line Gra­ham, who ran the Wanaka Gym, in relation to a $24,000 fine im­posed on her in the dis­trict court.

He re­fused to stay pro­ceed­ings re­lated to ap­pli­ca­tions for leave to ap­peal pre­vi­ous court judge­ments and fines.

‘‘Dr Gra­ham seeks what is in ef­fect a stay in relation to the pay­ment of fines. Dr Gra­ham . . . will be ar­rested if she re­turns to New Zealand, as she wishes to do for the pur­pose of pre­par­ing sub­mis­sions.’’

A Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil spokes­woman said the cost in­curred dur­ing court pro­ceed­ings be­tween 2008 and this year were es­ti­mated at $787,285. The fig­ure in­cluded some ear­lier costs.

‘‘We un­der­stand she is try­ing to ne­go­ti­ate a part pay­ment of the fines in ex­change for hav­ing the ar­rest war­rant lifted. Any decision [or] pay­ment ar­range­ments are to be made by the Min­istry of Jus­tice.’’

Col­lec­tion of the $64,000 in fines im­posed on Gra­ham and her company is ad­min­is­tered by the min­istry, who then pay the coun­cil. Costs of $9000 in­curred by the coun­cil are also be­ing ad­min­is­tered by the min­istry.

In 2010, Gra­ham and her company were fined $64,000 for al­low­ing a build­ing in Tenby St to be used for vis­i­tor ac­com­mo­da­tion when known fire dan­gers ex­isted. The build­ing was still used after a dan­ger­ous build­ing no­tice was is­sued.

She was fined $24,000 and the company, Wanaka Gym, was fined $40,000. Judge David Hold­er­ness found Gra­ham and the company guilty of a to­tal of 14 charges laid un­der the Build­ing Act.

Gra­ham’s ap­peals against the dis­trict court judge­ment were dis­missed in the High Court and later ap­peals seak­ing leave to ap­ply to the Court of Ap­peal were also dis­missed.

Jus­tice Young said she sought Supreme Court leave be­cause there was no right of ap­peal for leave de­ci­sions. Leave to ap­peal against a High Court decision would be granted in ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances, he said.

He ex­tended the time al­lowed to file sub­mis­sions seek­ing le­gal aid un­til Novem­ber 28 but was not pre­pared to is­sue a stay in relation to fines.

Pro­ceed­ings were first started by the coun­cil 10 years ago.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.