William Laurence Hart
NZ Herald story 8th December 2014
A murderer with a string of past convictions was unfairly sacked for revealing only one assault conviction in his job interview, the Employment Relations Authority has found. However, convicted killer William Hart was not awarded any compensation because he contributed entirely to the situation in which he was fired, the authority said in a recently released determination. Hart murdered 39-year-old Auckland solo mother-of-one Janet Reygate on November 23, 1984, dumping her naked body on the beach at Browns Bay. Ms Reygate was found, beaten and left to drown in the water, by an early morning runner, the New Zealand Herald reported at the time.
Hart, then 24, was found guilty at a trial in 1986 and sentenced to life imprisonment. The Employment Relations Authority said Hart served seven years in prison for the crime. Hart had worked for seven weeks at Auckland's Printlounge before its general manager, Stephen Sheppard, became aware of his criminal history. During Hart's job interview in early January this year, he said he had recently served two years in prison for assaulting a man at a party. Mr Sheppard told the authority he had asked if Hart had other convictions, but Hart denied this. Hart was offered the job because Mr Sheppard wanted to give Hart a second chance, the authority said. "Unknown to Mr Sheppard at the time of making the job offer, Hart had a more extensive criminal record," it said.
In February, Mr Sheppard received a call from someone alerting him to Hart's murder conviction. Mr Sheppard confronted Hart about the information, who admitted the conviction and was immediately fired, the authority said. Authority member Robin Arthur said it was likely Mr Sheppard did ask if Hart had any other convictions. "His difficult employment prospects were a strong motivation to say 'no' to Mr Sheppard's question and I considered that was more likely than not what had happened." Mr Sheppard was left with the impression that Hart's assault conviction was a "one-off", Mr Arthur said. After the conviction was discovered, Mr Sheppard told the authority he fired Hart because other staff might become fearful and leave, he could lose customers, and there was a loss of trust and confidence in Hart.
Mr Arthur said Mr Sheppard called Hart to a meeting without any notice or the right to bring a representative. In this case, Hart was "entirely responsible" for the situation because he gave incomplete information to Mr Sheppard, Mr Arthur said. He awarded no compensation, but said Hart should have been paid a week's notice, which could be resolved during a costs agreement.
Date of Birth
1960 (D.O.B. is approximate)
At large in Auckland
Sentenced to life with a 7 year minimum non-parole period in April 1986
Was released August 1993, recalled April 1998
Re-paroled around 1999
Additional Photos & Files
Associated Media Links Sacked murderer William Hart denied compensation
OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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