The Court of Appeal has thrown out the high-profile case of a Northland farmer jailed for 24 years for the abuse of his family.
Allan Titford, who battled efforts to return his land to local Maori, was imprisoned in 2013 after being found guilty of 39 charges, of assault, perjury and arson.
Titford denied the offending and went to the appeal court earlier this year, arguing he was unfit to stand trial.
Two psychiatrists assessed him as suffering from “querulous paranoia”, which meant he saw conspiracies in many places.
But the Court of Appeal justices, in their decision released this week, said that was not a diagnosed mental impairment. They backed the District Court’s Judge Duncan Harvey’s handling of the case, including the 24-year jail term.
“His conspiracy defence appeared to be the only defence available other than a blanket denial,” they said.
A former Far North mayoral candidate, Titford rose to prominence in the late 1980s and early 1990s as he battled the Crown over a farm he owned at Maunganui Bluff, on the coast north of Dargaville.
The Waitangi Tribunal recommended the farm be returned to local iwi.
As part of his campaign, Titford burned down a house on his property and blamed it on iwi.
The farm was eventually bought by the Crown and handed back to Maori. NZN