22 Jul 2009

Crown begins closing address in MP corruption trial

7:50 pm on 22 July 2009

The Crown has told a court jury that its case against the former MP Taito Phillip Field is as simple as when it started months ago.

The trial is in its 14th week and its closing stages at the High Court in Auckland.

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

The former Labour MP is accused of accepting free cosmetic work at seven properties from Thai people in return for giving them immigration assistance.

Crown prosecutor Simon Moore said in his closing address on Wednesday that Mr Field abused his position as an MP and a senior government member.

"And throughout he liaised with the associate Minister of Immigration, helped them regularise their family status as they toiled away on his houses.

"And did he ever, at any stage, mention to the associate Minister of Immigration that these people, who he was making these representations for were working on his houses? Never."

Mr Moore told the jury Mr Field started modestly by giving only a couple of Thai nationals immigration help in return for free labour.

He said work started in 2002 and by 2005 another five houses were worked on. The most ambitious project was Mr Field's property in Samoa.

The court was told the Thai people worked on his properties as they felt they owed him a debt because he succeeded in helping them where others failed.

Mr Moore said Mr Field misled the Ingram Inquiry and police with false statements, blunt lies and by creating documents.

"He told the Ingram Inquiry only as much as he thought that they knew - and he was pretty economical you might think with the truth even then."

Mr Moore said if the former MP had cooperated, he would not be in the trouble he is today. He said Mr Field has shifted his stories right up to the trial and changed them under cross-examination.

The trial has gone through nearly 4,000 pages of evidence since April.

Mr Moore will continue his closing address on Thursday.