Phillip Smith wants to lift case suppressions

  • 15/07/2015
Phillip Smith
Phillip Smith

The lawyer of a convicted murderer and child molester who fled to Brazil while on temporary release from prison has asked for suppressions surrounding his case to be lifted.

Phillip John Smith's lawyer, Tony Ellis, appeared in the High Court in Auckland today to ask for suppression on two pre-trial decisions to be lifted.

They related to the details of attempts to move his trial to transfer his case from a district court to a High Court.

Justice Graham Lang said he would speak to other judges in the case and would make a formal decision.

He said the suppression had been put in place to ensure Smith had a fair trial.

The Crown made no objection to the withdrawal.

Smith was jailed in 1996 for at least 13 years for murdering the father of a 12-year-old Wellington boy he had been molesting, while on bail on the child molestation charges.

He was on temporary release from Spring Hill Prison in Waikato when he fled to South America on November 6 using a passport issued under his birth name Phillip Traynor.

He was arrested in Brazil and now faces charges of escaping custody and of false representation in relation to obtaining his passport.

Also before the courts is his 33-year-old sister, Joanne Barbara Smith, who is charged with assisting him to escape from lawful custody. Both siblings deny the charges.