David Parker is a lucky man. He thought he was breaking the law, he admitted to breaking the law but it has turned out that in most regards he was not breaking the law.
Basically he gets off by virtue of a legal opinion that Hyslop never became a share-holder again, despite Parker himself listing him as one on several annual returns (at the same time as listing a unanimous agreement not to audit).
Now some have claimed this discredits Investigate Magazine in some way. Well *on this issue* I think they are wrong. On the face of it Investigate found official company returns which clearly contained false statements by Parker. It took a crown solicitor opinion to find some old case law which suggested Hyslop never became a share-holder again. But the fact remains Parker listed him as a share-holder on the returns.
The NZ Herald has a story on the report. Like most of the reporting too much emphasis is being placed on the ongoing consent from the Official Assignee not to have an audit. That only becomes relevant on the basis of a finding that the Official Assignee was still a share-holder and not Mr Hyslop as listed on the returns.
Ian Wishart comments on the report in his blog. He makes three points worth repeating:
1) “If he genuinely believe Hyslop was not a shareholder, why did he continue to file returns for years falsely stating that he was? If the returns were not false because Hyslop didn’t have to be consulted because he was no longer a shareholder, then arguably they were false by continuing to list Hyslop as a shareholder.”
2) “S89 of the Companies Act specifies that the share register is the final proof of legal title, barring a specific declaration by the High Court to the contrary.”
3) Parker thought that Hyslop was still a share-holder, right up until Crown Law told him otherwise
As I said at the beginning David Parker is a very lucky MP. He accidentally obeyed the law when he thought he was breaking it. On the basis of intention alone being insufficient I certainly do not argue with the lack of prosecution. But I would not shout this from the roof-tops as some sort of exoneration. He got a lucky break. Now he is a nice talented guy so good on him for having things go his way, but if anyone tries to paint him as the “victim” he is only the victim of his own mistakes.