7 Jul 2009

Work on former MP's properties worth 'thousands'

11:42 am on 7 July 2009

The value of work carried out on former MP Taito Phillip Field's properties was worth thousands of dollars, a High Court jury has been told.

Mr Field is facing 35 charges of bribery, corruption and obstructing justice.

He is accused of accepting work on his homes in return for giving Thai nationals immigration assistance while in Parliament.

Mr Field denies all the charges and is being tried in the Auckland High Court.

Top quantity surveyor Anthony Dean inspected Mr Field's properties for the inquiries that followed the allegations.

Mr Dean told the Auckland court on Monday that the value of plastering for one property was estimated to be $4260, including $850 for materials.

He said painting work at the property was valued at $12,180.

Mr Field's lawyer Paul Davison questioned the estimates and the formula used to reach them.

However, Mr Dean said he believed the values were properly compiled.

Constraints on police search

A top police officer tasked with investigating claims of wrongdoing surrounding Mr Field says a search of his parliamentary office faced constraints.

Detective Superintendent Malcolm Burgess told the court on Monday that before Mr Field's office was searched in 2006, a protocol was being developed between Parliament's Speaker of the House and the Police Commissioner.

Mr Burgess said the protocol covered search warrants for premises that might be subject to claims of parliamentary privilege, which placed some constraints on the search.

He said the protocol involved police ensuring that Mr Field or his representatives were made aware of the intention to launch a search warrant at his office at Bowen House. It also meant Mr Field or a representative had to be present during a search.

Jurors not paid for week

Members of the jury have not been paid for their service last week.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice says the Auckland High Court is trialling a new direct credit system and a delay in that, as well as significant staff illness, is the reason why payments were not made.

The jurors will be paid on Monday night for last week's service.

The spokesperson says jurors are normally paid by cheque and the new direct credit system is designed to make payment faster.

Justice Hansen apologised to jurors and instructed a member of the court staff to discuss the matter with them.

No other jurors have been affected by the problem.

Jury members are paid $31 for each half day of service, but that payment is increased for longer trials.

Payment is usually by cheque at the end of the trial, but for longer service payment is made on a weekly basis and can be direct credited into a bank account.