29 Apr 2010

Decision reserved in PI passport case

4:11 pm on 29 April 2010

The judge has reserved her decision in the case of a man accused of running a passport scam targeting Pacific Island overstayers.

Gerard Otimi faces 36 charges of altering documents and one charge of giving immigration advice without a licence.

Mr Otimi, representing himself, argued in Manukau District Court the case against him should be dropped because the Crown had insufficient evidence.

He said he was entitled to give the immigration advice under the Treaty of Waitangi principle of tino rangitiratanga, which was sometimes equated with sovereignty.

Mr Otimi said he had been in contact with justice and immigration officials raising concerns by the overstayers well before the charges were laid.