11 Dec 2014

Phillip Smith told to put up or shut up

12:57 pm on 11 December 2014

The head of the Corrections Association is challenging Phillip Smith to prove his claims a prison officer helped him get a passport and says if the convicted murderer cannot he should stop making allegations.

Phillip Smith

Phillip Smith Photo: RNZ / Murielle Baker

Smith was on a three-day release from Spring Hill prison in Waikato when he left New Zealand on 6 November, flying to Chile and on to Brazil. He was detained in Rio de Janeiro on 13 November.

At the time was serving a life sentence, having been convicted in 1996 of murdering the father of a boy he had sexually assaulted. He was also convicted of kidnapping and several other charges.

Yesterday he said a Corrections officer approached him in 2011 and offered him movies on a USB stick.

He was then given a smartphone, and the officer would let him know when searches were going on so he could hide it.

Smith claimed it was that officer who got him a passport form and photo - and that it was also him who suggested he flee to South America.

Corrections Association head Beven Hanlon told Morning Report Smith was simply trying to get publicity and he has not heard anything to substantiate what he says.

"What we're saying is put up or shut up," said Mr Hanlon.

"If he's got a corrupt Corrections officer as he claims, nobody wants to be working with that person. Put up the evidence, lets get it done, and lets bunk them together if they're such good friends."

Earlier he told Morning Report his client had enough information to back up his allegations.

"He has a level of information that would corroborate what he's saying. There are enough details about the officer that would identify him without any difficulty."

However Mr Hanlon said it was not uncommon for a prisoner to get the personal details of a warder.

"We drive to work every day, the cars are directly outside the prison. All they need is a friend or family member to watch us, get our details and follow us home.

"Details of a Corrections officer prove nothing. We get allegations made by prisoners with those sorts of details all of the time."

Mr Hanlon said it sounded like Smith was trying to get himself into the media, and he had not heard anything yet that substantiated what Smith was saying.

Auckland City District commander Richard Chambers says the police investigation into Smith's escape was continuing and new information was reviewed as it came to hand.

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