Quake looter says police beat him

Last updated 14:49 29/03/2011

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Police have been accused of assaulting an autistic man who looted an Addington home after the February 22 earthquake.

Cornelius Arie Smith-Voorkamp, 25, pleaded guilty to burglary and possession of equipment for burglary in a Christchurch District Court sitting in the Rangiora courthouse yesterday.

When he appeared again today he was denied diversion.

Defence counsel Simon Buckingham, who also suffers from autism, said the police summary of the case did not match his client's version of the events.

''One of the issues is around my client allegedly being assaulted by police officers which obviously would link into the veracity of the police officers concerned,'' he said.

The police prosecutor and Buckingham could not come to an agreement over the summary and Judge Jane McMeeken adjourned the matter for a disputed facts hearing in May.

Smith-Voorkamp became the face of looting after he was arrested for stealing light fittings from a damaged home.

His foster sister, Shannen Davis, 23, said Smith-Voorkamp was driven to steal light fixtures by his Asperger's syndrome, a type of autism.

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- The Press

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