“Appalling,” says Christchurch developer David Henderson of personal details about marital breakdown, health, fitness, weight loss and pictures of family, friends and pets being passed by police to a liquidator.
Henderson was commenting after a new Court of Appeal case brought by business associate Ian Bruce Hyndman against the liquidator Robert Bruce Walker.
The appeal court decision referred to Henderson’s involvement with Hyndman and a tape drive which had Henderson’s personal information on it and which Walker was permitted to retain after police seized it by executing search warrants.
Among the items seized was a tape drive holding a backup copy of a company’s server and a laptop belonging to the company but used by Henderson – the developer who successfully sued Inland Revenue, resulting in the film We’re Here To Help.
That tape drive had on it documents of a private nature and Henderson brought a case in the High Court at Christchurch two years ago.
Personal emails between Henderson and his wife talking about issues in their marriage and personal emails between him and his friends relating to marital breakdowns, health, weight loss and fitness were in documents on the tape drive.
Emails on medical advice and ordering various medical supplements, photographs of family, friends and pets, emails to Henderson from public figures, including politicians, seeking advice and emails with legally privileged material were also on the tape drive.
“Privacy is a very important metaphysical concept that just regularly gets abused. I would hope it’s important to everyone. It’s worth making a stand,” Henderson said today after the February 23 decision which did not uphold Hyndman’s appeal against a High Court decision.
“I would encourage him to appeal that,” Henderson said of Hyndman’s unsuccessful appeal court case.
Hyndman said today he was contemplating applying for leave to go to the Supreme Court but had spent considerable sums in the action to date.
The latest case said Walker “made at least 11 distributions” of private information.
Walker gave copies of the tape drive to Inland Revenue and disclosed specific items to other people including the Official Assignee.
The appeal court case noted Hyndman had been a director of Henderson companies.
“Mr Hyndman is a friend and business associate of Mr Henderson, an ambitious
but unsuccessful and now bankrupt property developer whose companies, which it is convenient to collectively call [Property Ventures Limited] PVL, were put into liquidation owing very large sums to secured and unsecured creditors. PVL was put into liquidation in July 2010 but the liquidation was immediately stayed pending appeal and remained stayed until 8 February 2012. Mr Walker is the liquidator,” the appeal court decision out this month said.
The High Court dismissed Hyndman’s claim for invasion of privacy so he appealed that, which resulted in the latest decision.
The appeal court said while Walker’s “conduct merits condemnation”, the High Court had rightly found that alleged breach of Hyndman’s privacy was trifling.
Walker’s QC, Richard Fowler, told the appeal court that the High Court was right to find no breach of privacy. There was no need to reformulate it because doing so would only burden the courts with trivial claims of the type Hyndman had brought.
The Herald reported in 2017 how Henderson battled restrictions when he was discharged from bankruptcy.
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