Accused attacker wanted in NZ

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 12:06 25/03/2013

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A Manawatu fugitive could be extradited back to New Zealand after he is dealt with by Canadian authorities for allegedly attacking and abducting a prostitute.

Michael Farley, 39, has been arrested in Canada and charged with attacking a woman and dragging her behind a moving van. He is wanted in New Zealand since fleeing the country two years ago before a court sentencing.

In 2011, he was on home detention on charges of receiving stolen goods, and was due to be sentenced on a further charge of perverting the course of justice when he cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet and fled overseas.

North American newspaper The Canadian Press reported the former Palmerston North man was arrested on Friday and charged with kidnapping and beating a 42-year-old woman on March 4.

Detective Sergeant Dave Thompson of Palmerston North police said Farley could be extradited or deported back to New Zealand, depending on what happened in the Canadian courts.

Vancouver police said Farley, who has been in Canada illegally for two years, was using the alias Robert Clarke and working as a handyman.

He was picked up by police, on behalf of the Canadian Border Services Agency, for violating immigration laws, not long after the assault.

Investigators concluded a few weeks later that he was a suspect in the attack and Farley was taken out of the agency's custody, placed in police custody and arrested on Thursday.

Vancouver police said the victim was picked up against her will, driven to a secluded area, tied up and beaten. Several witnesses called the police as they watched the woman being dragged behind a white van down a city street.

The woman had partially freed herself and "fearing for her life" attempted to jump from the moving vehicle, Vancouver police said.

"This woman was brutally victimised, and if it was not for her courage we would not be here today," major crime unit Inspector Laurence Rankin told The Canadian Press.

The victim suffered serious cuts and abrasions, and a head injury, and spent several days in hospital before giving officers a description of her attacker.

Farley is in custody pending a court appearance and is facing eight counts, including aggravated sexual assault, assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping. Once police were alerted that Farley had fled the country in 2011, they had tracked his movements.

Thompson said investigators traced him to Australia, then the United States, before he crossed the border to Canada on a false passport. Police had been poised to pounce but international processes had to be followed.

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"If the situation arose where he could be apprehended in the right way, then he would have been," Thompson said.

"We were waiting for the right time to do so... he was pretty well stranded where he was.

"From a New Zealand point of view it's great he's been apprehended, it's just very unfortunate something's happened in Canada... we weren't going to let him get away with manipulation of the system," he said.

If Farley is brought back to New Zealand, he is likely to face several charges, including escaping custody and passport-related charges.

Speaking yesterday, a woman at the family home, believed to be Farley's mother, Doreen, was tight-lipped on the topic.

"I feel sorry for the girl but I don't want to talk about it right now."

Farley's brother, Kevin John Farley, 42, has been charged with making a false statement by providing incorrect details on a passport application after allegedly obtaining a false passport for his brother.

He has not entered a plea and is due to reappear in the Palmerston North District Court on Thursday.

- Manawatu Standard

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