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A bogus, 5 year, $600k “prosecution” fails - by Tristam Price

Updated: Mar 31

A long-running personal grievance claim brought by a Tauranga cardiac physiologist in 2015 spawned retaliatory proceedings which themselves spanned more than five years.

During 2018, before the investigation meeting, and while Ana Shaw was subsisting on retail work, Peter Chandler the then COO of Bay of Plenty District Health Board (BOP DHB) which managed Tauranga Hospital, was seen repeatedly loitering in the rear car park of Ana Shaw’s employer at the time, Spotlight Tauranga.  Believing she was being stalked, Shaw sent photographic evidence to the Employment Relations Authority (ERA), and the stalking immediately ceased.

The ERA’s subsequent dismissal of Shaw’s claims might have been the end of the matter, if the BOP DHB, since absorbed into Health NZ/Te Whatu Ora had not brought retaliatory proceedings in December 2018.   For two years until mid-2022 when all 20 District Health Boards were absorbed into Health NZ/Te Whatu Ora, Chandler was the BOP DHB’s Chief Executive Officer who by then had a personal reputational stake in the litigation.

We’ve been trying to make sense of the “other” set of proceedings since 2019, before forming the view that they were bogus from the outset.  The various publicised interlocutories, preliminaries, review applications and appeals are too numerous to mention in detail in this short article.  But we believe that the single document that offers the most relevant detail is the DHB’s Amended Statement of Claim dated 14 June 2022.   It sought a finding of contempt of the ERA, penalties and costs against Ana Shaw, her then advocate Allan Halse and the company he operated at the time Culturesafe NZ Limited.  It sets out certain events including the making of “scandalous allegations” which appears to relate to the alleged stalking.  Despite robust efforts we were unable to find a legal basis of linking the events to the punitive outcome the BOP DHB sought.  See for yourself:

A few weeks ago we became aware of a planned Judicial Settlement Conference.  On 16 February 2024, with Judge Kathryn Beck as the mediator, Health NZ finally agreed to discontinue the proceedings against Halse, the second defendant.  By any objective measure, those proceedings are highly oppressive and should never have been bought in the first place, let alone validated by the Employment Court in 2020.   The confidential terms of the settlement mean we don’t know if money changed hands between the parties, but we consider it unlikely. 

The judgement, now on the Employment Court website, is below:

Yesterday I wrote about another case involving Allan Halse who was fined $9,000 for the heinous crime of disparaging his former employer Hamilton City Council and he will be in the Employment Court on March 5 to challenge that fine.  It’s not hard to form a view that Halse was the primary target of a cabal in the BOP DHB proceedings, with Shaw as collateral damage.

We estimate that BOP DHB’s retaliatory proceedings have cost the taxpayer $600,000 plus GST to date, just in legal costs.  But the real damage would be to New Zealand’s reputation as a skilled migrant destination (Shaw is South African), and our employment jurisdiction drifting, albeit temporarily, into (UK) Post Office Scandal territory.

The first defendant Culturesafe NZ Limited has been in liquidation since 2022 and therefore its lack of inclusion in the Consent judgement is of no consequence.  However the Consent judgment also indicated that there was no appearance for Ana Shaw, and there’s a good reason for that, which we’ll explain in a subsequent article. 

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