22 Oct 2009

Pounamu thieves lose bid to overturn convictions

4:00 pm on 22 October 2009

A man and his dead son have lost a legal bid to overturn their convictions for stealing pounamu (grennstone).

David Saxton and his son Morgan Saxton were jailed in 2008 and ordered to pay $300,000 reparation to Ngai Tahu for the theft of the stone from South Westland between 1991 to 2004.

The men claimed they had customary rights through David Saxton's partner, who is a member of the local hapu.

However, the Court of Appeal has upheld the convictions, saying the Crown proved beyond reasonable doubt that neither of the Saxtons believed they were authorised to take pounamu.

The court quashed David Saxton's jail sentence and instead imposed home detention for six months.

Morgan Saxton died in a helicopter crash in 2008.