Breaking News: A former NZ lawyer has been found guilty on 46 charges of tax evasion

by NZ Lawyer15 Sep 2015

Former Dunedin barrister Raelene Marie Kelly has been found guilty on 46 charges of tax evasion involving over $180,000, the Otago Daily Times has reported.

Kelly did not show up to her trial yesterday, which was concluded by mid-afternoon, despite five days being set aside for it.

She had emailed a letter of explanation claiming ''moderate to severe anxiety disorder'', and was called to the stand – but did not appear, nor did legal counsel on her behalf.

She denied the charges of evading paying GST or PAYE when they were first laid in the Dunedin District Court in March.

Judge Paul Kellar described the charges as ''relatively serious'' and said Kelly was therefore ''required to be present''.

The charges arise from when Kelly was the sole director and shareholder of Dunedin-based company Kelly Chambers Ltd, with 15 charges relating to March 2011 to July 2013 when no GST returns were filed, totalling $122,363, and 31 charges covered PAYE and KiwiSaver deductions from employees, from June 2011 to December 2013, amounting to $60,993.

As a result of her absence, Judge Kellar sped up proceedings.

Taking into account the hundreds of documents presented as exhibits, Judge Kellar said he was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt the charges had been proved.

Kelly will be sentenced on October 14.