Alf was fascinated this morning by the story of a bloke – described as obese – who has failed to appear in the Hamilton District Court five times since April to face fraud charges.
The law forbids publication of the name of this feller, who has a record as a conman.
The courts have given him interim name suppression.
But we can tell you he won’t be turning up on future occasions because he died in Waikato Hospital on Wednesday night.
Whether this means he must be buried in an unnamed grave is unclear.
Why he was given name suppression is unclear from the Herald story, too.
The more important question is whether he should have been given name suppression.
The bugger had more than 150 dishonesty convictions in New Zealand and Australia.
In the latest charges, he stood accused of defrauding would-be clients of more than $100,000 in alleged scams police say took place between July last year and January.
His lawyer said his client was adamant the charges were without substance.
So why not front up? .
The NZ Herald tells us why here.
Or rather, his lawyer gave an explanation.
His lawyer, Michael Meyrick, told the court the Waikato man suffered from “catastrophically bad health”, including diabetes and other obesity complications.
Did the judge accept this?
We are told –
But in June, Judge David Ruth agreed that the accused was using his bad health to avoid court and echoed the views of a previous judge who had called the 57-year-old an “incorrigible con-artist”.
Judge Ruth said the man had an alarming history, almost all of which related to fraud, and he accepted a police application opposing bail on grounds that he could still be offending.
The defendant was due back in court on August 24 on one charge of using a document for pecuniary advantage, eight charges of obtaining by deception and one of being a manager or director of a company while prohibited.
We are told Judge Ruth accepted the man was being treated in hospital for various conditions.
But he issued a warrant for arrest should he fail to attend court voluntarily once discharged.
Five days later, when the man fronted up to court, he collapsed before being able to appear.
On release from hospital, he was taken into custody and this week was readmitted to hospital, where he died.
Meyrick said the family may look into the circumstances of the man’s move from hospital into custody.
The reasons seem glaringly obvious.
As The Herald tells us, this tubby conman had been accused by a judge of using his ill health to subvert the court process.
His death tells us he succeeded.