INDEPENDENT NEWS

Significant Breakthrough In Sludgegate Saga

Published: Thu 12 Apr 2001 02:47 PM
PRESS RELEASE RE: SLUDGEGATE 11.04.01
SIGNIFICANT BREAKTHROUGH IN SLUDGEGATE SAGA
Chief Justice Sian Elias has delivered a ground-breaking letter to Waiheke Island property developer Adrian Chisholm, opening the way for him to appeal a High Court Judge’s decision last year.
The judge refused Chisholm leave to go to the Court of Appeal in his attempt to reveal a "secret" document in his courtroom battle against Auckland City Council’s abuse of power.
The Chief Justice has broken new ground with her advice. It has generally been regarded that High Court Judges have the final word on appeals to the Court of Appeal and that these decisions could not be appealed.
Chisholm took the Auckland City Council to court late last year over what he claimed was interference and abuse of power by the Council, preventing him building an up-market lodge on Waiheke Island. Chisholm alleged that the Council's sewerage dump on a public reserve two metres from his site consequently lead to the project being cancelled. During the trial, for which a final decision has not yet been brough,t down a "secret" document was uncovered that Chisholm said conclusively proved deliberate misfeasance by the Council. The Council’s legal advisors claimed solicitor/client privilege for the document – and Chisholm claimed the fraud exception to the privilege.
When Chisholm sought leave of the High Court to appeal to the Court of Appeal, Justice Williams refused.
Chisholm said today that he had been bewildered by Justice Williams’ decision. "I couldn’t believe that a Kiwi battler could be turned down on a right to go to the Court of Appeal on something that was so critical to proving my allegations", Chisholm claimed today.
The offending document was tabled in Parliament by ACT MP Owen Jennings following allegations he made about Auckland City Council staff abusing powers and responsibilities under various statutes. Chisholm then wrote to the newly created office of the Judicial Complaints Lay Observer, headed by Sir John Robertson. This office in turn referred the complaint to the Chief Justice who finally agreed that Chisholm could take his appeal on the decision whether he could go to the Court of Appeal.
"Its been a long hard battle for justice," Chisholm said.
"We are so close to proving my case against the Council. Getting access to the Council document will be a final nail in the Council’s coffin.
"I hope that this revelation will lead to the Judge who heard my case against the Council delaying his decision. I have waited four months now. Waiting a little longer to get these appeals underway will be worth it if I can win in the Court of Appeal and get the document before the trial judge for the first time," Chisholm concluded.
Contact Details: Adrian Chisholm: (09) 2381266,

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