A man concerned over the welfare of his children used his cousin's identity to get a false passport to travel to America.
Wellington District Court judge Bruce Davidson described the circumstances as unusual when he sentenced Ward Brooking to five months home detention.
Brooking, 48, had pleaded guilty to making a false passport application and using the passport 12 times and an unrelated charge of theft.
He had been living illegally in America with his wife and at the end of the marriage planned to come back to New Zealand in 2004.
He become worried over his ex-wife's new relationship with someone he thought was unsuitable.
During a heated confrontation his arm was broken. Later he heard his daughter was accidentally injured and decided to go back despite being told he could not return.
Judge Davidson said a cousin sympathised with him and agreed to let him use his identity while another family member signed the form as being correct.
Brooking went back to America twice for short visits.
Later he and his children went to live in Perth, Australia and Brooking continued to use the passport over five years despite having his own legal passport.
Judge Davidson said he accepted there were stressing personal circumstances for why Brooking had gone back to America but he could not understand why he continued to use it.
He said the deception had been picked up during an Internal Affairs audit and Brooking had agreed to come back to New Zealand to sort it out.
He had left a successful business and had to bring his children back to New Zealand.
The judge also ordered him to do 140 hours community work.
Brookings' lawyer Brett Crowley said he felt his ex-wife's lifestyle was becoming more and more dangerous and desperately wanted his children in a safe environment and did not know what else he could do.
Brooking had felt compelled to return for his children and gave the cousin a $500 donation for the use of his identity.
- The Dominion Post
If you had a choice, which would you prefer on Christmas day?Related story: Sun takes a Christmas holiday