12 Dec 2003

Cook Islands MP defends Lyon permit decision

5:05 pm on 12 December 2003

The Cook Islands MP Norman George has defended the Prime Minister's decision to grant convicted New Zealander Mark Lyon a 12-month residency permit.

A public rally to protest against Lyon's residency will be held tomorrow following claims he paid a 150 thousand New Zealand dollar bond to secure the permit.

But Mr George, who is also Lyon's lawyer, says there is nothing illegal about the decision.

And he denies the money has been put into a Democratic Party account.

"There's an amount of money that has been paid into a trust account because my client indicated he wanted to invest. He is a property developer with a lot of money and he has already indicated his kind nature. He has already helped with some community projects, donated his money freely. A sum of money has been deposited in my trust account. That money is for him to take out whenever he wishes. That is his money. There is absolutely no suggestion it is going anywhere else."

Cook Islands MP and Mark Lyon's lawyer, Norman George.