Overstayer refused bail

Last updated 05:00 06/03/2014

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An alleged Timaru burglary has helped the New Zealand Immigration Service find a wanted overstayer.

Daniel Penitani, 19, a Tongan whose work visa expired on January 1, appeared in the Timaru District Court yesterday on one charge of burglary and one of indecent assault.

Immigration NZ had tried in vain to establish Penitani's whereabouts, until the owners of a Timaru property found him in their home on February 27. They managed to hold him there until police arrived.

In court yesterday, Penitani, through his lawyer, Jay Lovely, requested that he be bailed to his sister's house in Christchurch.

However, the court was told that his sister had not helped Immigration NZ when it questioned her on his whereabouts.

"He says he's not evading Immigration and lives a transient lifestyle," Mr Lovely said.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Mike Wingfield said police were concerned that if Penitani was granted bail he could fail to appear in court and could interfere with a witness involved in the case.

Justice of the Peace M Cosgrove, who heard the matter, took several factors into account. "What this court has to consider is firstly, the risk you may not appear again if you are granted bail. The history in front of me is not good.

"There's also the factor you may interfere with a witness. I also have to consider you have given [your sister's] address [to be bailed to], but as the police have stated, when Immigration contacted your sister they weren't very helpful in advising where you might be."

She remanded him in custody to reappear in court on March 13.

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- The Timaru Herald

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