17 Jan 2004

Cook Islands bans New Zealand convict Lyon amid new police probe

9:39 am on 17 January 2004

Authorities in the Cook Islands have banned convicted New Zealand businessman, Mark Lyon, from re-entering the country as police investigate sexual misconduct allegations against him.

The decision was made by the prime minister, Dr Robert Woonton, who had granted Lyon a 12-month residency last year despite objections by the immigration department.

Dr Woonton says Lyon has been banned because of his New Zealand convictions which are also offences under Cook Islands law and carry a penalty of more than a year in prison.

He says he acted against Lyon after meeting the Concerned Citizens Group that had been campaigning for Lyon's deportation.

The prime minister says the group presented him with what is being described as evidence of Lyon's behaviour which has been given to police to investigate.

Lyon had paid a 150-thousand New Zealand dollar bond into a trust fund to secure the permit.