12 Dec 2015

Phillip Smith's judge dismissed from office

1:46 pm on 12 December 2015

The Brazilian judge who ordered the deportation of convicted murderer and paedophile Phillip John Smith has been dismissed from office amid allegations over a Porsche, cash and other goods seized from criminals.

Phillip John Smith

Phillip John Smith Photo: RNZ

Smith, who is accused of escaping from prison and fleeing to Brazil, is seeking to have the charges dismissed on the basis the deportation was illegal.

His lawyer Tony Ellis said it was reported that Judge Flávio Roberto de Souza's defence was that he was suffering dementia and could not tell right from wrong.

"If he couldn't tell right from wrong when he made the decision to deport Mr Smith, then it doesn't seem a very valid decision."

However, due to a Parole Board decision last week that Smith could not apply for parole for another two years, even if he gets off these charges, he cannot be released from prison any sooner.

"So none of this makes any material difference to his situation now."

Smith was jailed for life in 1996 for murdering the father of a boy he had sexually assaulted, kidnapping, and other charges. He was given temporary release from Springhill Prison in Waikato last year.

While on release, he flew from Auckland to Chile and then on to Brazil, where he was recognised and the police informed while he was staying at a backpacker's hostel in Rio de Janeiro.

He was then returned to this country and recalled to serve his life sentence for murder.

In another twist, Police Commissioner Mike Bush has lodged an application for a judicial review of the district court ruling that he should face cross-examination by Dr Ellis.

Smith is claiming police media releases and media coverage prejudiced his right to a fair trial.

Whichever party loses could then go to the Court of Appeal or even take it to the Supreme Court, thus putting the district court case on ice for much of next year.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs