18 Aug 2020

Phillip John Smith returns to court to appeal conviction

6:33 am on 18 August 2020
Phillip Smith

Phillip John Smith. Photo: RNZ / Murielle Baker

Prison escapee and sex offender Phillip John Smith is back before the courts today to appeal his conviction for fleeing overseas.

Smith skipped the country in November 2014 while on temporary release from Spring Hill prison.

While in prison, Smith successfully renewed his passport under his birth name Traynor.

On temporary release he boarded a flight to Chile and travelled on to Brazil.

He was captured a six days later after tourists in a Rio hostel recognised him.

Smith will appear at the Court of Appeal in Wellington to appeal the two year, nine month jail sentence for the escape.

He claims police acted unlawfully to return him to New Zealand.

The escape prompted an inquiry, and Parliament passed a law to make it harder for prisoners to do so in future.

Smith is already serving a life sentence for murdering the father of a boy he was sexually abusing.

He was denied parole earlier this year and will be seen again by the Parole Board in 2022.

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