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New Zealand Debt Collector Jailed

Monday, February 01, 2010 - Posted by Michael McCulloch

A 10 month prison sentence was handed down for illegal attempts to recover $50,000.

Stephen Beston owned a car importing company and used and agent, Chris Jellie to source & import vehicles from Japan. In May 2006 while a shipment was on its way from Japan, Stephen Beston placed his car importing company into Voluntary Liquidation. This meant that the costs of the shipment had to be met by Chris Jellie, the importing agent.

The importing agent, Chris Jellie in May 2007 engaged a New Zealand debt collection firm owned by Andrew Sisson (who was described as a "Hells Angel Member"). Andrew Sisson then engaged Peter Cleven (paying him $5,000) to assist in the debt collection process.

Cleven then visited Beston and showed him some photographs - to which the nature of were ultimately disputed - however Beston claimed they showed dead mutilated animals, whilst Cleven claimed they were alive. Five days later Cleven visited Beston's daughter and left a note in her letterbox that read "Tell your Dad not to be an old goat. It's not a dog's life. It's not about bondage. It's about discipline for business and family integrity".

Cleven, initially charged with blackmail, pleaded guilty to criminal harassment of Beston & his daughter. The judge rejected an application for home detention noting "any right thinking person would take the view that threatening someone and his family implicitly with violence was completely unacceptable". A 10 month prison sentence was handed down.


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