Phillip Smith: Chances of a fair trial compromised

  • 13/11/2015
Phillip Smith (File)
Phillip Smith (File)

Convicted murderer Phillip Smith has told a court his chances of a fair trial have been damaged by excessive prejudicial publicity.

Smith is accused of falsifying a passport then escaping from prison and fleeing to Brazil at the end of last year.

He appeared in Auckland District Court yesterday with an application to stay the proceedings against him.

Handcuffed to a guard, Smith presented three sheets of material as evidence of prejudicial publicity including a Fairfax Media article that used the word 'escape' nine times, without prefacing it with 'alleged'.

He also presented the cover page of Government inquiry document which also only used 'escape'.

The documents were "rather presumptuous of my guilt", because an escape had to be proven in a court of law, he said.

His lawyer Tony Ellis said police media releases were also prejudicial.

Judge David Sharp has ordered Police Commissioner Mike Bush to appear at Smith's next hearing to explain the considerable media publicity.

Mr Ellis told Judge Sharp the Parole Board is seeking to delay Smith's next appearance for an estimated three years, which would mean if the court imposed a similar sentence for Smith's alleged escape it would be a meaningless sentence.

Smith will appear again in December.

NZN