The Honey Plot – Victim seeks clarification from Court of Appeal

Martin Honey

In the world of real estate Martin Honey?has always been considered safe as houses. Now the walls are closing in on the high-flying Auckland agent. In the fifth?part of a special Whaleoil investigation, we examine the involvement of a former National party MP:

by Stephen Cook

THE GOVERNMENT agency involved in adjudicating the Martin Honey real estate saga is facing?the sternest examination yet of its handling of the whole affair with the Court of Appeal now being asked to rule on allegations of corruption and grave misconduct.

Leading the fresh offensive is consumer rights advocate Dermot Nottingham who has filed an appeal with the court seeking a ruling on key points relating to the Real Estate Agents Authority finding in favour of the Auckland real estate agent.

The High Court has since overturned those findings, referring the matter back to the Authority for review.

But Nottingham has now upped the ante by this week filing an appeal with the Court of Appeal where he asks for a ruling on whether the Authority is guilty of either corruption, misconduct or incompetency. He wants a ruling on these issues before the matter goes back to the Authority.

He has asked the Court of Appeal to rule on whether the actions of Crown counsel involved with the case amounts to ?dishonest, or such other intolerable, behaviour that should be reported to the appropriate authorities?.

In the event the court finds the Authority and Crown Law ?acted to effectively defeat and pervert the course of justice? Nottingham has asked that those people responsible be held to account and reported to the appropriate authorities.

He is also seeking an order from the court demanding a declaration from the tribunal and Crown counsel they acted in ?bad faith?.

Nottingham and two other appellants claim Honey profited at their expense by running a website for Re-Max after he had left the franchise for rivals Ray White.

Honey maintained he was unaware that listings posted with Ray White were also appearing on the Re-Max site ? but recently evidence has emerged to the contrary.

This is evidence the tribunal, who last year ruled on the matter in Honey?s favour has either ignored or chosen to give insufficient weight to.

The tribunal?s inexplicable handling of the matter led to a High Court review of the allegations against Honey and eventually a finding in favour of the appellants.

The ruling means the case against Honey, which includes damning evidence from two of his former colleagues who say he knew all along the Re-Max website featured live listings, now goes back to the tribunal for what the appellants hope is more rigorous examination.

It?s still not clear why the tribunal chose to ignore such compelling evidence, Nottingham?points to corruption within the tribunal and a desire to ?protect their mate Honey? at all costs.

Also implicated is former National MP Jackie Blue who used false and misleading information in an attempt to destroy Nottingham?s reputation.

In March 2011 Blue wrote to Internal Affairs Minister Nathan Guy demanding an urgent investigation into the suitability of Nottingham as a real estate agent.

With that letter she included a ?dossier? containing a number of serious allegations relating to what she described as Nottingham?s ?extensive criminal record and history of intimidation?.

The dossier was provided to her by Honey.

No effort was made by Blue to verify any of the allegations, all of which were untrue.

The dossier and another letter to police written by Honey was widely circulated as part of an orchestrated campaign to discredit Nottingham who at the time was threatening to expose Honey?s involvement in a major real estate scandal.

Nottingham lost his real estate agent licence as a result of the complaint..

Until now Blue?s role in the whole controversy has been overshadowed by allegations ranging from improper conduct to corruption against Honey, the chief executive of the REAA, ex Police Sergeant, Keith Manch, REAA complaint assessment committee members, ex Serious Fraud Office computer forensic expert Anna Tierney, ex realtor Joan Harnett- Kindley, and ex commerce commissioner legal eagle Deidre McNabb – and finally members of the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal.

The members of the READT were Judge Paul Barber QSO, Garry Denley, property manager, and ex WPC partner John Gaukrodger.

Whaleoil can reveal that following the decision of the complaint assessment committee, which has now been found to have been completely wrong, Harnett-Kindley was promoted by the Minister to the lofty and far better paid position of board Member of the REAA.

In the ?questions of law? to the Court of Appeal, the appellants are asking for a ruling on whether Blue and Guy contacted and then influenced the senior management of the REAA to act corruptly in not investigating the appellant?s allegations against Honey, all of which were found to have a sufficiency of evidence for the High Court.

They are also seeking a ruling on whether Blue and Manch then acted to instruct the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal to ?misconduct itself? by coming to a false finding clearing Honey when in fact there was an overwhelming amount of evidence to convict him.

The story continues…