Wellington, NZ – 30 August 2007 – LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Welli…

Wellington, NZ – 30 August 2007 – LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Wellington company director is to be dishcharged without conviction on tax charges, following the decision of District Court Judge John Walker yesterday, who said the consequences of a conviction on the charges would be out of all proportion to the gravity of the offence for Mr Meikle, who had fronted up to his responsibilities and ensured all tax and penalties were paid.

The decision indicated a $5000 donation should be made to charity. Mr Meikle said he would make the payment to a cancer charity.

The charges arose out of Mr Meikles involvement in a company associated with the Loaded Hog chain and follow the conviction of tax offences involving co-director Stewart Thwaites on 15 September. Judge Walker had convicted and fined Mr Thwaites $60,000 and ordered him to undertake 400 hours’ community work in respect of these, and other separate charges.

Judge Walker said that Mr Meikle’s situation had been made impossible by the financial difficulties that had occurred as a result of trading problems within the group. He said Mr Meikle had nonetheless faced up to his responsibilities as a director, and done his best to meet the company’s tax obligations on time. All taxes were subsequently paid.

He said Mr Meikle could have avoided “standing there” in the Court dock if he had simply resigned his position from the company but he had not done so and had instead worked to sort the tax situation out.

Both the IRD and the Judge took into account that substantial tax had been paid and that Mr Meikle himself had done everything to ensure the taxes were met. It was accepted Mr Meikle, who has no convictions, was facing charges at the lower end of the scale.

He took into account glowing references and testimonials on Mr Meikle’s behalf, together with his substantial and successful involvement in hospitality businesses over 20 years.

Mr Meikle said he was obviously relieved the situation was over and that he could now get on with constructive business and community activities. “I thought the Judge’s decision was eminently fair and reasonable,” he said. “His Honour took into account all the unfortunate circumstances that placed me in this situation, and recognised what had been done to pay every cent”

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