Phillip John Smith was 'kidnapped' - lawyer

An inquiry into the escape of murderer and sex offender Phillip John Smith while on temporary release has been released ...
DAVID WHITE/STUFF

An inquiry into the escape of murderer and sex offender Phillip John Smith while on temporary release has been released today.

The lawyer for murderer and sex offender Phillip John Smith claims his client was effectively "kidnapped" from Brazil and his rights have been breached.

Tony Ellis, who has represented Smith since 2002, told Radio NZ he had applied for a stay of proceedings for charges laid after Smith's escape to Brazil last year.

Smith was charged with escaping custody and obtaining a passport by supplying a misleading particular.

Tony Ellis has been Phillip John Smith's lawyer since 2002.
MAARTEN HOLL/ FAIRFAX NZ

Tony Ellis has been Phillip John Smith's lawyer since 2002.

He was sentenced to life in prison in 1996 for murdering the father of a child he sexually abused. He was on temporary release when he fled the country.

Ellis said the fact Smith had fled to Brazil did not mean authorities could break the law to bring him back.

"There's a whole was of material that shows the reasons of why he was detained and they didn't appear to be lawful so I don't think it's cheeky to say he was effectively kidnapped. I just think it's a perfectly valid legal argument with good British authority to rely on.

Phillip John Smith's image was captured as he passed through Auckland Airport on the way out of the country.

Phillip John Smith's image was captured as he passed through Auckland Airport on the way out of the country.

"Police have to be held to account for unlawful behaviour as much as Mr Smith was, two wrongs don't make a right."

Ellis told Radio NZ Smith's rights under the Bill of Rights Act had been breached.

"There have been a number of procedural matters that I believe have gone wrong and putting all those together there's a request to the court to stop the case, which in any event some might think is pointless because he's serving life imprisonment and you can't get more than life, but there's been a breach of the presumption of innocence by a number of government persons making suggestions quoted in the media that Mr Smith is guilty, and that includes a judge, the Parole Board and two other persons which I can't mention."

There were also questions about the legality of Smith's return to New Zealand, as you could not extradite somebody under Brazil's law when they faced more than 30 years' jail.

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"Brazilian law also says you can't use deportation as a surrogate method to get around extradition."

An initial application for a stay will be made on Wednesday at the Auckland District Court.

 - Stuff

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