The second front, Margaret Guthrie and the Health Department

Jenni McManus NBR

Jenni McManus in her reports also detailed the attempted forced closure of Gladstone Park, the geriatric facility that had been operational since 1986. What McManus in her wildest dreams could not have imagined was that the bent cops also had a hand in this attack. McManus had also been told that all the facilities residents, on one occasion, had been moved from the home to the local hospital, this to was a pure fabrication designed to impugn the business and it’s operation and further influence McManus and her fairy tale articles – McManus was however unable to recall who had told her of the fictitious mass transfer – apparently because everyone she spoke to feared for their safety or wished to talk off the record. In fact apparently no one wanted to be quoted – had McManus been competent surely this would have set off the alarm bells

Whilst ultimately the attack on the nursing home was a failure, with the Judge on day three of the proceedings warning the Crown Solicitors representing the Health Department  that he was looking forward to hearing some real facts, the victory however was pyrrhic.

The Crown hadn’t been able to provided any credible evidence to support Dr Margaret Guthrie’s outrageous allegations – despite having presented their case; complete with witnesses including Paul Martens.

The cost of defending the attack was however extraordinary. That financial burden combined with the Police attack on the restaurant license and Detective’s Thomas  and Willcox’s inciting of the creditors resulted in the Barristers recommending the strategy of accepting a moratorium on the proceedings.

Gladstone Park

Judge Elliott realised however the damage that had been done to the business by the unwarranted attack and the malicious allegations and decided that he would visit Gladstone Park, personally, and obtain evidence from the patients – the proceeding were adjourned and reconvened at Gladstone Park.

His decision demonstrated a great deal of insight, Elliott knew that the owners may later have a substantial claim against Dr Guthrie and the Department of Health. When the court reconvened, after Elliott’s visit to the home, he advised the Crown Solicitor that it was now his confirmed view that the attack had been wholly unwarranted. He was also, apparently,  of the opinion that Dr. Guthrie had been extremely negligent in cancelling the homes license without first warning or  putting the allegations to the accused for comment and or rebuttal – the allegations had proven to be, in his view, nothing more than unconscionable and malicious rumour.

Guthrie however when contacted by Jonathan Egglestone after the Court hearing, fully aware of the Courts findings surreptitiously continued her attack by directing Egglestone to McManus’s articles as being de facto evidence with which to defame the family and the operation of the nursing home.

Allegations had also been made to the police by DeRidder claiming that an ex staff member had been threatened. A totally false accusation, the origins of which clearly lay with the rumours the Police and Martens had been spreading and no doubt made by Maxine Bezzant one of Paul Martens associates, a witness for the Crown during the hearing and Martens co-conspirator. The anonymous accuser however when pushed to formalise the complaint advised DeRidder that she did not want to take the matter any further – claiming that her daughters life had been threatened – another outrageous fabrication.

Hemi Hikawai

The key players behind this attack were Paul Martens and the Police. Margaret Guthrie, then Director of the health Department in Wellington had relied totally on allegations made by local Officers of the Health Department, Phil Armstrong and Tum DeRidder, both of whom being local had strong connections to the bent cops –  A number of the Police Officers involved in the attacks have subsequently sat on on the Area Health Board – Hemi Hikawai is still a serving board member, at the time this blog was published – soon to retire,  and another police officers wife was and still is an employee of the area health board.

The truth behind the Health Department attack on the home and its license was that DeRidder had been forewarned of  the Police’s intentions and had decided to get in on the action – with the intention of buying the business at fire sale after its planned distruction.

Small town malice and avarice was rife, whipped to a frenzy by the bent cops; McManus in her rush to print and despite being warned did not dig deep enough to reveal the motivations and politics behind what had been happening.

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