A 55-year-old Hawke's Bay man, described as a "serial
fraudster" and "querulous complainer", has been sentenced for
impersonating a lawyer and now holds 184 convictions,
including one for impersonating a pilot.
Brian Hunter was sentenced to five months' home detention
today, after being found guilty of two charges of obtaining
by deception at Napier District Court in February.
Judge Jonathan Down said Hunter, who had "underlying
psychological issues", will undergo a psychiatric assessment
and complete any treatment or counselling if required as part
of the sentence.
Judge Down found the "serial fraudster" guilty in February's
judge alone trial, after he fabricated the identities of
Kapiti Coast lawyers Michael O'Hara and Brian Shaw.
Hunter used the fake names to hire two moving companies,
including Crown Relocations, as he moved his possessions from
Waipukurau to Hastings in October 2012 and from Ashurst to
Waipukurau in April 2012.
The companies were left with bills owing of $5434.70 and
$2600, after they believed they were in contact with the
ghost identities of solicitors.
Judge Down ordered Hunter to pay $2600 in reparation to Crown
In January, Hunter was sentenced to 300 hours' community
work, after he pleaded guilty to one charge of operating an
aircraft without the required documentation.
A court summary of facts said he had previously appeared in
court for offending under the Civil Aviation Act and the
In November 1998, he was convicted for operating an aircraft
without appropriate and current documents, fraudulently
making documents, placing others in unnecessary danger and
falsely representing himself as a pilot with an instructor's
His lawyer, Philip Jensen, today said his client came from a
"poor background", was not a "mental case" but a "complex
Judge Down said Hunter had many sentences of imprisonment in
the past but was reluctant to send him back to jail because
it may be "damaging or reinforcing of the opinions you hold
"However, it must be in the public interest given the extent
of his fraudulent history," Judge Down said.
He said the 55-year-old was a "querulous complainer" who had
been abused as a child and "not taken care of as [he] should
Judge Down suspected punishment would not deter Hunter from
future offending and his only real hope of reducing his
criminal activities was to address his "deep seeded issues".
"I do not detect any sense of remorse ... but I do take into
account your personal circumstance," he said.
Hunter was jailed five times in the 1990s and was first
convicted in Wellington in 1974.
- By Sam Hurley of Hawke's Bay Today