7 Jul 2015

Smith's lawyer calls for stay of case

7:16 am on 7 July 2015

Counsel for the convicted murderer and sex offender Phillip John Smith says his client's rights under the Bill of Rights Act have been breached and the case against him should not go ahead.

Phillip Smith

Phillip Smith Photo: RNZ / Murielle Baker

Tony Ellis will seek a stay in proceedings against Smith at the District Court in Auckland tomorrow.

Smith was jailed for life in 1996 for murder, sexual assault, kidnapping and other charges, but fled to Brazil last year while on temporary release from prison.

He is being accused of escaping from custody and false representation of a document but he denies the charges.

Mr Ellis said the District Court should stay proceedings because he said Smith's presumption of innocence had been breached by several people.

He added that his client was not lawfully removed from Brazil but was effectively kidnapped by the Brazilian police on behalf of New Zealand.

Mr Ellis also accused the Department of Corrections of sharing Smith's psychological file with the New Zealand police and subsequently the Brazilian police, which was unlawful.

He also said the defendant had been repeatedly called a paedophile by the media, which he was not, and this risked prejudicing potential jurors and making it impossible for him to receive a fair trial in New Zealand.

Tony Ellis

Tony Ellis Photo: RNZ / Murielle Baker

Mr Ellis said Smith was convicted of sexual assault on an underage person, but this was different from paedophilia.

The application for a stay will be made tomorrow but, if granted, will be argued substantively at a later date.

Mr Ellis is also seeking a review of a raft of suppression orders made in a case that concerned whether the High Court or the District Court would have jurisdiction over Smith's case.

He also plans to refile an application for the case to be moved from the District Court to the High Court.

One man has been jailed for helping Smith escape and Smith's sister is awaiting trial on the same matter.

But Mr Ellis said pressing ahead with the case against Smith himself would not help matters, because he was in jail for life already on the murder conviction.

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