Brother 'forced' passport fraud

JIMMY ELLINGHAM
Last updated 13:26 29/06/2013
kevin farley
DAVID UNWIN
'EASILY LED': Kevin Farley says he was ''pushed into a corner'' by this fugitive brother Michael to help him illegallly gain a passport so he could flee the country.

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A Palmerston North fugitive accused of attacking and abducting a prostitute in Canada is also said to have pushed his brother into helping him gain a false passport to flee New Zealand.

Kevin John Farley, 42, has been sentenced to six months' home detention for forging passport documents in May 2011 for his brother Michael.

That allowed Michael Farley to skip the country before he was sentenced on a charge of perverting the course of justice.

In the Palmerston North District Court yesterday, defence lawyer Jock Turnbull argued that Kevin Farley was "easily led and easily pushed around".

"That's the explanation he has given - he was pushed into a corner by his brother."

Prison would normally be justified in similar cases, but Farley would struggle in its confines, according to his mother, who has looked after him "for years", Mr Turnbull said.

"She doesn't believe that he's able even to live in the community on his own without support."

Crown prosector Daniel Flinn said the case wasn't one of "pure naivete" on Farley's part and noted he had 65 previous convictions, although he had few since 1999.

Judge Fred McElrea decided Farley's personal circumstances did warrant a discounted sentence.

"He was born a victim of foetal distress syndrome in 1970 and as a result suffered a degree of brain damage during the birth process that led to a number of problems, including learning difficulties."

Farley's family had said he was trusting, but would often fall in with the wrong sort of people who would take advantage of him.

"Unfortunately, his own brother falls into that category," Judge McElrea said.

The court heard that Michael Farley had applied for a passport under the false name Robert James Clarke, using a false photograph.

Kevin Farley filled out a "witness" section, wrongly confirming the man in the photo was Mr Clarke.

"The brother then used the false passport to leave New Zealand one day short of completing a sentence of 10 months' home detention, which required him to remove his ankle bracelet, before going to the airport [and] catching a plane."

The judge said the offending was serious but gave Farley credit for his guilty plea and personal circumstances.

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- Manawatu Standard

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