A convicted Hamilton child molester has pleaded guilty to fleeing the country to Botswana to avoid being sentenced on child sex and drug charges.
Christopher Ian Crause appeared in the Hamilton District Court today and admitted charges of falsifying a passport, using a false passport and conspiring to defeat the course of justice with his wife Bridgette Crause in May last year.
Judge Glen Marshall convicted Crause and remanded him in further custody to reappear for sentence in October.
In March 2012 Crause was found guilty of four charges of unlawful sexual connection of a girl aged 12 to 16 and two charges of supply a minor with cannabis.
Trial Judge David Ruth granted Crause bail so he could get his business affairs in order, and indicated he was likely to send him to prison.
A sentencing date of June 15, 2012 was then set.
However, on May 18 Crause filled out a New Zealand replacement passport application in the name of Daniel John Finnerty.
He put in his own photo and his wife, Bridgette Crause, signed the statutory declaration affirming the photo was a true likeness of Daniel John Finnerty.
On May 25 Bridgette Crause booked a one-way air ticket to Brisbane for Mr Finnerty to leave that same day.
The couple, along with their two children then flew to Australia. Crause then travelled on to South Africa by himself using his own passport.
Three Botswana police officers eventually escorted Crause back to New Zealand on August 23, where he was arrested.
When questioned by police, Crause admitted everything.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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