28 Jul 2009

Field described in court as kind, naive

5:55 am on 28 July 2009

Lawyers for former Mangere MP Taito Phillip Field told a High Court jury on Monday that the Crown has presented a distorted picture of his personality during the trial.

They say Mr Field is kind and humane, but an unsophisticated and naive person who never set out to take advantage of people.

Lead defence lawyer Paul Davison, QC, has begun his closing address to the jury at the High Court in Auckland.

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

The former MP is accused of accepting free work at several of his properties from Thai people in return for helping them with immigration matters.

But Mr Davison told the jury Mr Field never acted dishonestly.

He said that would have been "the very last thing" that would have ever crossed his mind.

Mr Davison said Mr Field did not appreciate that all work was being charged for because he did not pay a lot of attention to detail.

The defence lawyer said Mr Field was not a person with developed business skills. "You might think he operated his business matters in a somewhat loose, somewhat disorganised and shambolic manner, someone who doesn't keep every record at all."

Mr Davison said Mr Field allowed his humanity to prevail over strict legal obligations and the world would be a sorry place with no room for humanity.

Notes on hand

Mr Davison also raised the issue of Mr Field earlier reading statements off his hand during questioning by the Crown.

He said Mr Field added up sums during a lunch break. He said it was hardly a sophisticated ploy and the Crown overplayed the incident.

The Crown claimed it was a sign of Mr Field trying to lie giving evidence.

Mr Davison said that sceptical view highlights the Crown's entire case.

Closing arguments by the defence will continue until Tuesday.