22 Aug 2014

Liu seeks to withdraw guilty pleas

6:07 pm on 22 August 2014

Auckland businessman and political donor Donghua Liu is asking the court to let him take back his guilty pleas over a domestic assault case.

Mr Liu was to be sentenced at the Auckland District Court today for an attack on his partner and her mother.

Donghua Liu.

Donghua Liu. Photo: TVNZ

Instead, Mr Liu's lawyer Paul Davison, QC, said he would be applying to cancel his client's guilty pleas to male assaults female and assault with intent to injure.

Judge Grant Fraser set the matter down for legal arguments in October.

Outside court, Mr Davison declined to say why his client had had a change of heart.

"I'm not going to go into the reasons and the detail of it at this stage. It's appropriate that I just simply tell you what is happening, the detail will come out in due course."

Liu has also pleaded guilty to charges laid by the Auckland Council over building works at two properties he owns in Remuera and Epsom after failing to comply with a resource consent. He will be back in court next week for that matter.

Earlier this month, Mr Davison said the matter was embarrassing for his client, but did not reflect his business practices.

He said communication problems were partly to blame for the botched building work, and Liu had appointed a site manager to manage both sites.

"It was somebody else's responsibility so far as he [Liu] was concerned to comply with the legislation and the conditions and obviously those matters weren't attended to properly."

Donghua Liu was at the centre of Maurice Williamson's resignation as a government minister earlier this year when it emerged that the National MP had contacted police about their investigation into Liu.