Procedural opening as Waiheke “Sludgegate” trial ruling awaited
Adrian Chisholm (left)’s long battle against Auckland City Council for wrecking his proposed Waiheke Island resort’s development chances took another turn yesterday, when the Chief Justice, Sian Elias, said a procedural avenue was still open to him to get a crucial document into his court case.
The chief justice has told Mr Chisholm he can still appeal the High Court’s refusal of leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal over a document which was not allowed in evidence during last year’s High Court trial before Justice Robert Chambers.
Mr Chisholm regarded the document as being critical to proving his allegations of deliberate misfeasance by the council. The council’s legal advisors claimed solicitor/client privilege over the document.
In a separate High Court action, Justice Hugh Williams refused Mr Chisholm leave to go to the Appeal Court to get the document into the trial record, and to be able to examine witnesses on it.
However, Act MP Owen Jennings tabled the document in Parliament. Mr Chisholm then wrote to the new position of Judicial Complaints lay observer, headed by Sir John Robertson, who passed it on to the chief justice.
Mr Chisholm alleged the council established a sewerage dump â€” unnecessarily and without going through proper processes â€” on a public reserve next to his resort site, and this led to the project being canned.
The High Court trial ended on 19 December, but Justice Chambers still hasn’t produced a decision â€” an unusually long delay for a ruling in a criminal trial. Mr Chisholm hopes the judge will delay longer to enable him to get the document into court, though that would require success for Mr Chisholm in his appeal over the leave application, followed by an appeal over the document itself.
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