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'If he was white he probably wouldn’t be in this situation'

Newshub logoNewshub 24/05/2017 Emma Jolliff

The daughter of former Tenths Trust Chairman Ngatata Love, who was jailed on a fraud charge, has broken her silence, telling Newshub there was a miscarriage of justice and her father probably wouldn’t be in jail if he was white.

Sir Ngatata Love, who was knighted in 2008 for services to Māori, is currently serving two and a half years in prison for obtaining property by deception.

He was charged in relation to a $1.5 million payment by the developers of Pipitea House, which houses government spy agency the GCSB, and was built on Tenths Trust land.

Sir Ngatata suffers dementia, diabetes and has a heart condition. His daughter, Dr Catherine Love, said he was never fit to stand trial.

"Three court appointed experts psychiatrists found he was suffering from frontal lobe damage and should not proceed to trial," she said.

An appeal against Sir Ngatata's conviction and sentence will be heard in Wellington on Thursday.

But they're not just appealing on compassionate health grounds.

"There has been a miscarriage of justice here," Dr Love said.

In court, the Crown said developers paid the money into a company run by Sir Ngatata's partner, Lorraine Skiffington, and that the money was used to pay the mortgage on their joint $1.8m Plimmerton home - without disclosing it to the Trust.

Darcy Nicholas, a member of the Tenths Trust, said he felt the tribe hadn't been disadvantaged because "the Trust ended up with a building that was valued close to $90m and it owns half of that".

Dr Love said her father was always more likely to be jailed because he's Māori.

"If he was white he probably wouldn't be in this situation," she said.

"We want ideally for his name to be cleared. I have confidence the full story will come out, ideally within his lifetime."

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