In Westpac New Zealand Limited v David Theunissen Limited [2012] NZHC 2486, the High Court made an arrest order against Mr Theunissen (T) for breaching the Court's interim injunction orders.

Westpac had a mortgage over a property that was occupied by T, who was a guarantor of the borrower's obligations to Westpac.  When the borrower defaulted under the loan agreements, Westpac took steps to exercise its power of sale under the mortgage.  T then removed various fixtures from the property, thus diminishing the value of the property. Westpac applied for an urgent injunction restraining T from removing fixtures from the property, and the Court granted the injunction order.

However, T continued to remove fixtures from the property.  Westpac then applied to the High Court to issue an arrest order against T.  The High Court was satisfied without reasonable doubt that T had been served with the injunction order, the terms of which were clear and unambiguous, and that he had deliberately disobeyed the orders.  The Court therefore issued an arrest order against T, and he was brought before the Court.

The High Court ordered T to attend a meeting with Westpac's representative to go through the allegations of what had been removed from the property and to ascertain what could be returned.  T undertook not to attend at the mortgaged property while mortgagee sale proceedings were being undertaken and his arrest order was discharged.

This case shows that where a mortgagor or an occupier deliberately attempts to disrupt the mortgagee sale process, and fails to comply with a court order restraining such disruption, certain remedies are available to the mortgagee including, in extreme cases, an arrest order.