12 Nov 2015

Media coverage unfair, Smith says

5:27 pm on 12 November 2015

Convicted murderer Phillip John Smith, who is accused of escaping from prison and fleeing to Brazil a year ago, has accused the media of prejudicial coverage.

Smith has also taken issue with the way the government announced an inquiry into the incident.

Phillip Smith

Phillip John Smith Photo: RNZ / Murielle Baker

He appeared in the Auckland District Court today, handcuffed to one of three guards, and presented three pages of material to support an application for a stay of proceedings against him.

He was seeking the stay because of what he said was excessive prejudicial publicity before any trial.

Smith said a recently published article used the word "escape" nine times, and did not instead refer to an "alleged escape".

He told Judge David Sharp an escape had to be proven in a court of law.

Smith took further issue with parts of the text of a government statement in which the word escape was used.

His lawyer, Tony Ellis, said media releases issued by the police were also prejudicial.

Judge Sharp has ordered the Police Commissioner to attend Smith's next hearing, to explain the wording used in police media releases at the time.