23 Oct 2013

Judge steps aside from sentencing

4:42 pm on 23 October 2013

A judge has stepped aside from sentencing an Auckland property developer in a Serious Fraud Office prosecution after drawing attention to previous involvement with what he described as one of the developer's victims.

Judge Gerard Winter was due to sentence Glenn William Cooper on Wednesday after he had admitted five dishonesty charges over $800,000 in property deals with a south Auckland family.

Two years ago, Judge Winter discharged the Blues rugby player Kurtis Haiu without conviction for punching Cooper over a property deal gone wrong.

At the Manukau District Court on Wednesday, the judge said he wanted to make clear that involvement with what he called "one of Mr Cooper's victims" and asked Cooper's lawyer whether he should proceed with the sentencing.

The lawyer, Tudor Clee, replied that his client's only concern was the judge's use of the word "victim" in relation to that previous case because "a multitude of investigations" had found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

Cooper is now due to be sentenced on 29 November by another judge.