New report delays Sir Ngatata Love fraud sentencing

Sir Ngatata Love (Supplied)
Sir Ngatata Love (Supplied)

The sentencing of prominent Māori leader Sir Ngatata Love for fraud has been postponed due to concerns about impact of prison on his health.

The former Wellington Tenths Trust chairman was due to be sentenced in Wellington on Thursday after being found guilty of obtaining property by deception.

At the start of the hearing Justice Graham Lang said that a report from the Department of Corrections on healthcare options for Love in prison, was only received at 9.50am - 10 minutes before court was due to start.

The 79-year-old suffers from dementia, most likely in the form of Alzheimer's, and concerns have been raised about the effect imprisonment might have on his wellbeing.

His lawyer Colin Carruthers QC wants to seek medical advice on the Corrections report before sentencing.

Last month Love was found guilty of obtaining property by deception, relating to his involvement as chairman of the Wellington Tenths Trust in 2006/07.

He was accused of securing a payment from developers for the right to purchase a lease on land belonging to the trust, which he failed to disclose to his fellow trustees.

The Crown alleges he used the payment to buy a $1.8m home in Plimmerton; money that rightfully belonged to the trust.

Thursday's hearing continued with submissions from character witnesses, including Love's grandchildren.

His grandson, Dr Tyron Love, spoke with emotion about the devastating impact the trial had on his whanau, and asked the judge to keep his koro from going to jail.

"Send him back to his daughter's house...we can provide his care, we can take on the cost of doing so. Our whanau asks the court to consider the impact of imprisoning a resource, and most importantly a taonga that is still needed for our people."

Love's daughter was among a group of about 20 people supporting him in court today; they did a karakia in the public gallery before the hearing began.

Māori leader Peter Moeahu urged the judge to have mercy on Love and not send him to jail, but instead allow kaumatua to deal with him.

"Today my heart bleeds for him sir, for being here… do not judge this man for a moment in time, for a moment in his life. I ask that you judge him on the full breadth of his life, the fullness of his life."

Love was knighted in 2008 for his services to Māori and Prime Minister's office told Newshub after he was found guilty they'll wait for the case to finish in the courts before commenting on the possibility of him being stripped of his knighthood.

Sentencing will conclude on Friday afternoon and Sir Ngatata remains on bail.

Newshub.

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