20 Feb 2015

Smith's sister denies helping him escape

4:40 pm on 20 February 2015

The sister of the convicted murderer and paedophile Phillip John Smith has denied helping her brother escape custody and will face a jury trial.

Phillip Smith

Phillip Smith Photo: RNZ / Murielle Baker

Joanne Barbara Smith, 33, of Palmerston North was charged in the Auckland District Court and was due to appear on Tuesday but the matter has been dealt with on papers.

Ms Smith's lawyer Ron Mansfield told the court his client denies the charge, which carries a maximum prison sentence of seven years.

She is due to appear in court next month.

In the meantime, she will have to adhere to police bail conditions that include staying at her Palmerston North home, not to contact her brother and not to contact police witnesses.

Smith left New Zealand in November while on a three-day release from the Spring Hill prison in Waikato, flying to Chile and on to Brazil.

He was later detained in Rio de Janeiro and escorted back to jail in New Zealand.