Not guilty pleas to all charges by Paul Bennett

June 27, 2016 | By More

Court House-general 3Paul James Bennett, who was deported from Australia and arrested on his arrival at Christchurch, has denied 60 charges and has opted for a judge-alone trial on alleged offending totalling $567,000.

Bennett, 53, entered the pleas to the charges at a video-link appearance from prison at the Christchurch District Court today.

Judge Alistair Garland asked the police for the total figure involved in the offending, and when police prosecutor Sergeant Kathy Pomfrett said it totalled $567,000 he said he hoped the Crown would take over the prosecution.

That meant that the case was remanded to a Crown session for its case review.

Bennett, through lawyer Serina Bailey, entered not guilty plea to all the dishonesty, indecency and drug charges, and also pleaded not guilty to 12 charges brought by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Those charges allege he flew a Eurocopter without a provate pilot’s licence and without a current medical certificate in Christchurch, Hamilton, Upper Hutt, and Paraparaumu in 2014.

Judge Garland remanded Bennett in custody for a Crown case review hearing on September 5.

Bennett faces 48 charges alleging offending all over New Zealand, from Northland to Wanaka. They allege he has dishonestly used documents, caused people to act on forged documents, and stolen various high value items.

He is charged that at Paihia in the Bay of Islands in January or February 2015, he stole a Beau Birdsall 45 Cutter yacht valued at $145,000.

The sex charges allege indecent assaults on a 15-year-old girl in North Shore, Auckland, in 2008, and supplying her with the class B drug MDMA, or Ecstasy.

Bennett is accused of dishonestly obtaining bank transfers, or dishonestly using an invoice, an email confirmation of purchase, tax invoices, and payments for a helicopter part, and final payment for a helicopter.

He is charged with forging a valuation on a Rolex watch, invoices, and altering an Air New Zealand Engineering payslip.

The charges allege offending Paihia, North Shore, Auckland, Taupo, Upper Hutt, Palmerston North, Christchurch, Cust, Naseby and Wanaka in Otago.

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