18 Dec 2014

Lawyer expects prison officer in court

5:58 am on 18 December 2014

The lawyer for the convicted murderer and paedophile Phillip John Smith thinks a prison officer could be in court early next year charged with helping him get away.

Phillip Smith composition. Paremoremo prison in Auckland

Phillip Smith was questioned at Paremoremo prison. Photo: RNZ / Police

Smith was in jail for murder, kidnapping, sex crimes and other offences when he fled to South America last month.

He had been on temporary release from jail at the time.

Smith was brought back to this country from Brazil and has been returned to jail to serve out his original sentence.

He is also awaiting trial on charges of escaping from custody and making a false representation when applying for his passport.

Several inquiries are under way into how Smith got away.

One person has been charged in connection with his escape - a Whanganui man who appeared in court on Wednesday charged with lying to passport officials about where Smith was living.

Christopher Ryan Clifton, 25, was charged in Whanganui District Court and remanded on bail.

Smith has also alleged a prison officer received $7,000 to help him get a passport.

Smith's lawyer, Tony Ellis, said Smith spent two hours with police in prison yesterday and told them who the person was.

Mr Ellis is refusing to give any more information on the issue but said the person was still employed as a Corrections officer.

He said he would not be surprised if that person appeared in court in the New Year.

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