By LOUISA CLEAVE
Disgraced former Maori Television Service head John Davy faces claims for more than $80,000 when he ends his eight-month jail term for fraud.
Davy was behind bars in Mt Eden last night. His lawyer, Kahu Barron-Afeaki, said Davy was going through “serious anguish and shock”.
Mr Barron-Afeaki will decide today whether to appeal against the jail term handed down yesterday by Judge Phil Moran in the Auckland District Court.
Immediately after sentencing, Te Puni Kokiri, the Ministry of Maori Development, said it would seek to recover $82,174 paid out in salary, advances and expenses such as airfares, accommodation and relocation costs.
The ministry doubts Davy will be able to pay back the money but is still seeking to recover the full cost of his employment.
In the dock, Davy appeared confused when Judge Moran imposed the prison sentence.
Davy had earlier told the judge: “If there was ever a time in my life that I was truly remorseful for my actions it is now. I have suffered, truly suffered already and I’m asking the court today to look upon the suffering and losses I have incurred … and bring it to a stop.”
Davy’s permit to stay in New Zealand expires today and his lawyer admitted he was expecting to be deported rather than sent to prison.
His actual jail time is likely to be four months and he will then be deported.
Mr Barron-Afeaki would not comment on what Davy’s partner, who is from the Philippines, would do but said her immigration status meant she was able to stay on in New Zealand “for a while”.
Judge Moran said Davy had a serious flaw in his character and referred to him as a “conman” who indulged in a web of deceit woven to obtain a job he was not qualified to do.
He said the enormity of Davy’s deceit showed there was a clear need to send a message to other people who might be tempted to apply for senior appointments with false credentials.
Judge Moran said Davy was not eligible for home detention as he was homeless.
Police prosecutor Christine Scott said Davy’s false CV had been carefully determined and thought out in advance.
“It did not amount simply to embellishment, as [Davy] stated to the probation officer. [It was] almost a complete fabrication.
“He displayed either incredible arrogance or perhaps a naivety that his credentials would not be checked,” she said in court.
Mrs Scott said Davy’s offending was a serious breach of trust and integrity and his behaviour had disadvantaged other applicants for the job.
The Maori Television Service board had been “acutely embarrassed” by Davy’s actions, she said.
Mrs Scott said a prison sentence would send a clear message nationally and internationally “that this type of deceit will not be tolerated in New Zealand”.
Mr Barron-Afeaki told the court that Davy’s offending was highly unusual and he could find no other case where a criminal charge had been laid for lying about a CV.
Ken Palmer, a criminal law expert at Auckland University, said it was unlikely that Davy’s criminal conviction for lying about his background was the first of its kind.
Dr Palmer was not surprised by the sentence and said it was “entirely appropriate” given Davy had misrepresented himself to gain a senior public position, and the entitlements that went with the job.
The court was told yesterday that Davy would give the proceeds from the sale of his Jaguar car to Te Puni Kokiri. He had also directed tax refunds and any benefits and outstanding salary to the ministry. Judge Moran said it would go a long way towards repaying the $20,000 salary advance.
The Maori Development Ministry will report to the Government this week on options for recovering the money.
In Parliament yesterday, National MP Murray McCully said that files relating to communication between the Maori Television Service and its recruitment agency, Millennium People, were removed as two inquiries began.
The inquiries are a State Services Commission review into the process of engaging Millennium People and a review by Ernst and Young into the decisions of the Maori Television Service while Davy was in charge.
Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia invited him to provide more information.
Mr McCully, who wants an inquiry, said later that he was prepared to offer an affidavit swearing he had seen a reference to documents having been removed. He had not seen the documents themselves.
Conman’s term: how it compares
* A man who falsely called himself an architect when he stood for Mayor of Waikato District was fined $150 and $130 court costs. Under the Architects Act 1963 only registered architects can use the name.
* Former MP and senior police officer Ross Meurant was fined $200 and court costs of $130 for impersonating a police officer after an altercation with a truck driver on the Desert Road.
* Michael Helsby-Knight, a New Zealander banned for life from doing business in New South Wales and described as a “menace to the community”, was fined $3000 for 33 charges under the Fair Trading Act for saying he had European cosmetics, sports shoes and laptops for sale when he did not.
* Former Argentinian beauty queen Anita Faisandier was jailed for 3 1/2 years, later reduced to three, for 20 counts of fraud by ripping off $833,000 in cheque kiting – depositing a valueless cheque in the bank and drawing on the account before it had time to be dishonoured.
* And lastly … . if Prime Minister Helen Clark is charged for charitably signing her name to art she did not do she could face up to 10 years in jail for forgery. Lawyers expect that, if she is charged after the continuing police inquiry, she would probably be given a warning by the courts because she did not stand to gain personally.