A convicted rapist who disappeared from Christchurch and was found around 400 kilometres away has reportedly denied escaping custody.
Nigel Robert Gately, 46, appeared before the Nelson District Court on Thursday morning and did not enter a formal plea to the charge of escaping custody.
He disappeared from a property in Christchurch on Tuesday and sparked a massive police manhunt that stretched across the South Island. He was eventually found in Nelson and arrested on Wednesday night.
RNZ reports that his lawyer, Tagan Lyall, initially denied the charge in court, but that claim was "scoffed at" by Judge David Ruth who asked if he was joking.
Parole conditions mean the convicted sex offender is not permitted to leave the Christchurch City area. The courthouse he was appearing in is 415 kilometres away in Nelson.
The judge then told Gately he was "digging a bigger hole for himself". The parolee was stood down in custody without a formal plea and will reappear in two weeks.