25 Mar 2013

Questions over how NZ accused allowed in Canada

2:00 pm on 25 March 2013

Questions are being asked about how a New Zealander facing sexual assault charges in Canada managed to get into the country on a false passport.

Police in Vancouver arrested Michael Edward Farley on Friday (local time) and charged him with eight offences, including kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault, following an incident on 4 March this year.

New Zealand police have been looking for the Palmerston North 39-year-old since July 2012 when they say he cut off his electronic bracelet while on home detention and fled the country using a false passport.

At a news conference, police have given details of what they describe as an "horrific" attack on a woman.

Vancouver police inspector Laurence Rankin told reporters that Farley picked up a 42-year-old woman and drove her to a secluded area "where it is alleged that he beat her and tied her up in his van, holding her against her will".

About 30 minutes later, police received several 911 calls about a woman being dragged behind a white van on Clark Drive near East 13th Avenue.

"The woman had managed to partially free herself and, fearing for her life, jumped from the van while it was still in motion."

According to local media reports, she suffered head injuries, as well as cuts and bruising, and has since been discharged from hospital.

Other incidents not ruled out

Mr Rankin says Farley is in Canada illegally and was arrested with the help of New Zealand police and Interpol. He has appealed for other victims to come forward.

"We haven't identified other victims of Mr Farley. We're open to the possibility that there could be other incidents."

A news producer at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Matthew Ramsey, says reporters were shocked to learn the accused was a New Zealander living there illegally, and border agencies in Canada will be questioned over how it happened.

Mr Ramsey says police told reporters that Farley had been working as a handyman.

Police in Palmerston North say Farley was due to be sentenced on a charge of perverting the course of justice when he fled.

They say once the Canadian criminal proceedings are over, he is expected to be deported to face charges in New Zealand.