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Moses and Stevens cleared

Judge dismisses entire case against former Reeves Moses directors

Thursday, August 30th 2001, 11:30PM

All remaining securities law charges against former Reeves Moses directors Roger Moses and Gary Stevens were dismissed yesterday by Judge John Hole.

The two men faced 70 charges between them when their trial began in the Auckland District Court on Tuesday last week. A prosecution attempt to amend about 30 of them at the trial's opening was dismissed by the judge, and the number was further reduced to four charges each on Tuesday, when Judge Hole found no case to answer on charges laid under section 59 of the Securities Act and under the Securities Act contributory mortgage regulations.

Counsel delivered closing submissions on Wednesday and the judge took less than a minute to deliver his verdict today: "After careful consideration I have reached the conclusion that all charges will be dismissed, and they are accordingly dismissed."

He expected to have his reasons in a presentable form today.

The charges related to development loans on four projects in 1999. The official assignee charged Moses and Stevens, as directors of Reeves Moses Hudig Mortgage Brokers Ltd, after there was a substantial shortfall, or risk of shortfall, on the loans.

Interest for investors, supposedly prepaid for the full term of the loans, was in most cases not retained at all. Investors were also told drawdowns would only be allowed once a valuer's completion certificate was signed.

They key figure of the trial, but not present, was Reeves Moses' mortgage manager at the time, Peter Van Nieuwkoop. He is to face trial on similar charges. He is alleged to have altered documents and made changes, such as to the interest prepayments, without authorisation.

The charges against the directors were based on their responsibility to know what was in the documents.

Crown prosecutor Brian Dickey tried to get part of the case adjourned on Tuesday before Judge Hole dismissed the bulk of the charges, so he could appeal to the High Court without, he said, the need for a rehearing if he succeeded in getting the charges reinstated.

That proposal was rejected. The Crown has 14 days from the time of dismissal (Tuesday for most, today for the remaining eight charges) to lodge an appeal.

« Lack of letters stymies caseSovereign takes regulation bull by the horns »

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