Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Trusty Taito

Here is the report on stuff from when Taito turned up at court today.

Independent MP Taito Phillip Field proclaimed his innocence when he arrived at court today for a preliminary hearing on whether he should be prosecuted on 14 bribery and corruption-related offences.

"I have nothing to hide," he told the large media contingent outside the High Court.

The hearing is effectively a depositions hearing with the High Court needing to be satisfied there is a case before charges can be laid.

The charges concern allegations Mr Field gave immigration help to Asian overstayers in return for cheap labour. They each carry a maximum prison sentence of seven years' jail.

Mr Field's lawyer, Satiu Simativa Perese, has previously said he believes he can stop the case going to trial by "successfully" defending the application.

He would not reveal how he was going to do that but the Dominion Post today said one argument would focus on the fact nearly two years had elapsed since the allegations were raised.

They were the subject of a nine-month inquiry by Noel Ingram, QC, who found Mr Field was guilty of errors of judgment but did not have a conflict of interest as he was not a minister at the time.

Mr Field was Labour's Mangere MP but the party expelled him in February as the police investigation dragged on. He refused to go quietly, instead staying on as an independent.

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