Canadian police are investigating whether a Palmerston North man accused of abducting and brutally attacking a prostitute in Vancouver is linked to other crimes.
New Zealand police have been hunting for Palmerston North man Michael Edward Farley, 39, since he fled in July 2011 just before a court sentencing that police said would have probably have resulted in him being jailed.
Farley was arrested in Canada on Thursday, after police identified him from surveillance videos and descriptions provided by a 42-year-old woman who was tied up and dragged behind a van while trying to escape her captor.
Canadian Police this morning told Radio NZ it could be two years before Farley faced trial.
Police were now investigating whether Farley had harmed any other people while in Canada, and were focusing on the downtown-east area of Vancouver.
It is alleged Farley drove into a secluded area after picking up the victim on March 4, then beat her and tied her up.
Witnesses saw her being dragged behind the van after she partially freed herself and, fearing for her life, tried to jump from the moving vehicle. She suffered serious cuts, "road rash" and a head injury.
She was treated in hospital and was recovering at home.
Canadian police have charged Farley with aggravated sexual assault causing bodily harm, sexual assault, assault, kidnapping, overcoming resistance by choking to commit a sexual assault and kidnapping, administering a noxious substance and uttering threats.
Farley had been living illegally in Canada under the name Robert James Clarke. His brother faces charges for allegedly helping to obtain a false passport for him.
In New Zealand, Farley was serving a sentence of home detention on charges of receiving stolen goods and was due to be sentenced on a further charge of perverting the course of justice at the time of his escape.
Palmerston North Detective Sergeant David Thompson said Farley's escape showed "pre-planning".
He said that when Farley absconded, it was a "distinct possibility" that he would have gone to jail.
"It has been clear during this investigation that Farley has gone to extreme lengths to evade justice in this country," Thompson said.
"Equally, we have been determined to go to the same lengths to ensure that he faced justice."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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