Looting charges dropped against autistic man

4:25 pm on 22 August 2011

Charges against an autistic Christchurch man accused of looting in the aftermath of the 22 February earthquake have been dropped.

Cornelius Arie Smith-Voorkamp, 25, had been facing charges over stealing light bulbs and an antique fitting from a quake-damaged home shortly after the earthquake.

Mr Smith-Voorkamp, who has Asperger's syndrome, was featured in a TVNZ Sunday programme which included allegations that he had been assaulted by police and army personnel during his arrest.

Assisting Commissioner of Operations Dave Cliff says it has taken six months for the charges to be dropped due to delays with a second psychiatric report, which was received last week.

Mr Cliff says as a result of Mr Smith-Voorkamp's condition, he has a compulsion to collect electrical fittings which reduced his responsibility for the incident.

Police have now dropped all charges against Mr Smith-Voorkamp and a co-accused, Michael Davis, who says he was there to look after his partner.