On the 3rd August 2010 a small article appeared in a number of New Zealands mainstream media outlets. The article announced the upcoming trial of one Paul Desmond Currie on charges of blackmail, the Crown alleging that currie had blackmailed his lawyer for the sum of $300’000. The complainant lawyers name however was nowhere to be seen, the article citing a name suppression order:
Man accused of blackmailing his lawyer
Published: 12:14PM Tuesday August 03, 2010
A jury has been sworn in for the trial of an Auckland man who is accused of blackmailing his lawyer. Paul Desmond Currie, 45, faces one charge of blackmail after he allegedly threatened to expose his lawyer when he lost $200,000 in a divorce settlement. Between October 3 2006 and November 13 2006, Currie is accused of threatening to disclose information about the lawyer, including that he was in a relationship with a prostitute and took the class A drug methamphetamine.
The Auckland lawyer’s identity is suppressed. A jury of eight women and four men were sworn in for the trial this morning, which is expected to last until the end of the week.
Crown prosecutor Nick Flanagan is expected to begin his opening address later on this morning.
Earlier this week LF was contacted by an associate of the convicted man and asked if team LF would consider taking a closer look at the case. LF is of course not the first to have looked at the conviction of Paul Currie on allegedly spurious blackmail charges. The websites www.kiwisfirst.co.nz and www.nzpca.co.nz have both published material, with the later posting various pieces late last year:
Source; http://nzpca.co.nz/its-the-same-evidence-as-before-its-exactly-the-same-evidence-as-before/ (published November 7th 2013)
Source: http://www.kiwisfirst.co.nz/news.asp?pageID=2145848073&RefID=2141732930 (published June 15th 2012)
Whilst these two sites have both posted material the documents they have supplied are unfortunately far from conclusive, at least from a readers perspective. However what has been supplied by these two sites, who are obviously somewhat limited in what they can post by their domain geography, combined with the many mainstream media articles LF have managed to locate leaves a number of big questions unanswered. This said, it is almost always a foregone conclusion, when it comes to the New Zealand Police force, and the country’s courts, when questions remain unanswered and the Courts deliberately set in place orders designed to thwart any attempt to obtain those answers then something is seriously wrong.
In this case one can start with the fact that the mainstream media neglected to mention, in their coverage of the case, that being that Paul Currie had already faced trial for exactley the same charges and that those charges were dismissed. The MSM also failed to mention, or bring to the publics attention, the fact that Paul Currie was then charged a second time by police with nothing less than exactly the same offence.
It was only after doing so that police managed to finally obtain a conviction. A queer turn of events, but not at all strange in New Zealand; one only need look at the Gwaze case to see that its pretty much standard fare in Kiwi Courts.
This sort of behaviour by police is at best an abuse of process, “double jeopardy” is another term that immediately springs to mind, or how about autre fois acquit or convict? This corrupt behaviour by police was the first red flag for LF in this particular case, primarilly because it is a strategy that New Zealand Police regularly employ so as to, at all costs, obtain convictions and thus discredit the falsely accused.
The next red flag for LF was of course the name suppressions granted by several Courts in favour of the complainant (a lawyer). The third red flag was a telephone conversation that, it has been alleged, took place between the complainant and Paul Curries lawyer, who at the time of the alleged telephone call had already withdrawn from representing Currie. It was the sort of telephone call that no lawyer, worth their salt, would be likely to forget, a call that was duly noted:
Now, no honest barrister is going to wilfully lie and then commit that lie to letterhead, unless of course he or she’s a fraudster and that normally means there has to be more than a dollar or two in it for them. Not ony did Peter Andrew, himself a former Crown prosecutor, keep the records he then repeated the allegation in an affidavit. Mr Andrew is obviously an honest man and was also clearly aware of the significance of what the complainant, also a barrister, had himself done – he’d undoubtedly attempted to extort money?:
The fifth red flag was the trial judges highly unusual refusal to release the trial notes to Currie following the, arguably seriously flawed, second trial and Curries subsequent conviction:
He (Currie) requested the notes from the trial in August to be referred to the ADLS. But Justice Lang refused his request. “The complaint to the ADLS will not be focused on your actions, but the actions of your former lawyer. “Given your former lawyer’s opposition, I decline to make the trial notes available, but I will reserve leave for the ADLS to ask me for the notes if needed,” Justice Lang said.
Finally, and whilst in our experience these red flags are certainly not likely to be exhaustive, the fourth red flag for us all here at LF was a proceeding that unfolded soon after Paul Curries, probably wrongful, conviction on the blackmail charge. That particular red flag was a whopper. Despite the many name suppression orders that had been succesfully sought and that were in place it is now known that the complainant was none other than convicted Auckland Barrister and National Finance former director Anthony David Banbrook:
A director of a failed finance company has had his application for leave to appeal dismissed from the country’s highest court. Former National Finance director Anthony David Banbrook had applied for leave to appeal at the Supreme Court following a dismissal from the Court of Appeal.
Banbrook had applied to appeal his conviction of making an untrue statement in a prospectus. The senior litigation lawyer was sentenced to eight and a half months’ home detention and was ordered to pay $75,000 reparation when he appeared in the High Court at Auckland earlier this year.
In his application for appeal at the Supreme Court, Banbrook argued substantial prejudice arose from the ruling because of the death and unavailability of witnesses, and loss of company records during the period of delay after he was charged.
However Justice John McGrath, Justice William Young and Justice Terence Arnold said whether the unavailable witnesses or lost minutes would have helped Banbrook with his defence was highly speculative. `
`The application for leave does not reveal any specific basis for his claim that the lapse of time caused him substantial prejudice.” Overall, the Justices said they saw no possibility of a miscarriage of justice. The application for further appeal was accordingly dismissed.
Now as always Shannon Parker of www.nzpca.co.nz, having formed her own conclusions, fired off a letter to Anne Tolley, the National party in Governments Minister of police. That was also late last year and to date Tolley has failed to even so much as acknowledge receipt of Shan’s complaint, Shan also posted a copy on Labour spokesperson Phil Goffs facebook page, again to no avail:
Private Bag 18041
To Anne Tolley,
Regarding: Paul Desmond Currie
We currently hold disclosure documents relating to the charges New Zealand Police laid against Paul Desmond Currie. We note that you have had such documents (approximately 400 + pages and four CD’s) since 24 February 2012 and have not answered the Currie family.
It has been brought to our attention that there are four differing disclosers that Police put forward in this matter. We intend to publish this case as we believe it is a matter of public interest due to the extreme documentation tampering that occurred after the initial case was withdrawn.
For fairness and transparency we are giving you, as Minister of Police this opportunity to comment on this matter, which you have full disclosure of. Our initial concern is how police came to alter the disclosure documents and then mislead the court. I draw your attention to the below. Sworn evidence of Ian Peter Collin 21.9.09 Q. Is there any new evidence in this latest charge Mr Collin?
A. It’s the same evidence as before. It’s exactly the same evidence as before.
We look forward to your response.
Shannon L Parker
President New Zealand Police Corruption Association
Phone: 021 151 0579
Clearly there is something very wrong with this case. It has been far from transparent, what with all the highly questionalble name suppression orders. Certainly it would also appear that Banbrook didn’t take his purported blackmail very seriously if he was offering to make it all go away for a one off payment of $20’000.00o. Of course Banbrook, a highly experienced barrister, would have also known that, under ordinary circumstances, he would not have been in a position to control the conveyance or conduct of a police prosecution, or was he? Currie of course appealled his conviction but without legal representationhe was fucked from the get-go:
Paul Desmond Currie was convicted of blackmail for demanding $350,000 from another man to keep quiet about allegations that his victim was in a relationship with a massage parlour worker and smoked drugs. Currie was sentenced in September last year to 12 months’ supervision and 350 hours’ community work. Currie, who represented himself but had his brother Robb Currie argue his position due to ill health, told the Court of Appeal in Auckland today that he was innocent of the charges against him.
Then theres the involvement of a mysterious “professional negotiator”, a bloke by the name of John Pippos and his company PJM & Associates (2003) Ltd. John Pippos, a man, who despite allegedly being employed by Paul Currie, and purportedly having negotiated a mutually agreable settlement of $351.886.10 with Banbrook, that Banbrooks insurers then allegedly declined to pay because the indemnity insurance policy premiums had not been kept up to date, then somewhat strangely had little if anything to say during the trial other than a few words that may have assisted the Crown’s case, having painted Currrie as a likely nutjob:
The judge said Currie was at a low ebb after his marriage breakup and had also been declared bankrupt. He became obsessed that the lawyer had let him down. Even the advocate hired to help him with his case against the lawyer had said he was “an emotional shipwreck”.
In fact Mr John Pippos’ performance in court, along with a search of the New Zealand Companies office (archived records) on PJM & Associates (2003) Limited, makes for some slightly disturbing reading. It seems that the so called advocates company responsible for the letters to Banbrook may have been a little more deverse in its scope of work than just advocacy – specialist in almost everything, especially tractors and an agricultural work force:
It would appear, prima facie, that Mr Paul Currie may just have been the one taken for a ride, but by exactly who remains to be seen. Theres a lot in the way the police altered their summary of facts and from LF’s perspective it points to Curries so called “advocate” having been nobbled by the cops. Below is the sumary of facts police first used:
Then at the second trial police presented a variation on the same theme, Page two of the summary had been changed and someone had ensured the date at the top had remained the same as that found in version one – POL 262 03/06 In fact the only decernable difference is that Mr John Pippos and his “Company” are not “featured” in the same dubious light in fact in the mark II version its Mr Paul Currie that police have now put squarely in the “frame”, how convenient – Its an old but a goody:
The LF team will be investigating this case over the coming months and we’ll of course be keeping our readers informed of any progress. Suffice to say there are some serious questions that need plausible answers, but at this stage this case has all the hall marks of yet another gross injustice at the hands of the New Zealand police, a bevy of bent barristers and various Courts that were either grossly mislead, incompetent or in the alternative, had been a party to what transpired.