21 Jan 2016

Sister who helped Smith escape sentenced

10:42 am on 21 January 2016

The woman who helped her convicted murderer and child sex-offender brother escape from New Zealand has been sentenced to home detention.

Phillip John Smith

Phillip John Smith fled the country in November 2014. Photo: RNZ

Joanne Barbara Smith, 33, appeared at Auckland District Court today where she was sentenced to eight months home detention.

Her brother, Phillip John Smith is serving a life sentence for murdering the father of a boy he had been sexually abusing.

He fled the country in November 2014 while on a three-day release from Spring Hill Prison in Waikato.

He flew to Chile and then Brazil before being recaptured.

Judge David Sharp told Joanne Smith people who helped prisoners escape the country would be dealt with seriously, but because of her exceptional personal circumstances a sentence of home detention was suitable.

The court was told the solo mother of two was 23 weeks pregnant and would serve her sentence in Palmerston North.

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