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Fugitive molester appeals sentence

Last updated 11:40 08/11/2012

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A cancer-stricken convicted child molester who fled the country 22 years ago after being sentenced to jail has appealed against his sentence.

Ron Dillon, now 67, was found guilty in 1990 of indecent assault on a girl aged 12 to 16 and sentenced to eight months' jail.

He lodged an appeal against his conviction, was given name suppression and granted bail. While on bail, he absconded, fleeing to Australia.

The High Court, at Invercargill, was told on Monday that Dillon had made several trips to New Zealand since, including six in the past two years, before he was detected.

Dillon's appeal was heard by Justice Miller.

Dillon's lawyer, Bill Dawkins, sought to have the sentence reduced because of Dillon's age, physical condition and lack of reoffending.

He had lost two fingers and had had cancerous lesions removed from his body, and he also had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Mr Dawkins said.

Justice Miller said evading justice did not gain him credit for not reoffending since 1990.

It is not clear how Dillon managed to evade his sentence in 1990 and then come and go several times despite the warrant against his name.

The Customs Service said it would not comment on individual cases for privacy reasons.

However, spokesperson Nicky Elliot said Customs would always stop a passenger at the border if there was an alert to do so filed by Customs or another government agency.

"If there is no alert, the passenger is not stopped unless as part of routine screening procedures."

Immigration New Zealand said because Dillon was a New Zealand citizen, it was not responsible for stopping him leaving or re-entering the country.

The police said they would not comment on a case that was before the courts.

Justice Miller has reserved his decision on Dillon's appeal.

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- The Southland Times

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