Minister commends Police efforts to find prisoner

  • Michael Woodhouse

Police Minister Michael Woodhouse today acknowledged the combined efforts of New Zealand and international Police to find and capture absconded prisoner Phillip John Smith (Traynor) overnight.

“I commend the work of New Zealand and Brazilian police officers, and Interpol, to trace and re-capture the prisoner,” Mr Woodhouse says.

“This has been a distressing week for the victims of the prisoner, and I hope today’s news goes some way to restoring their sense of safety and security.

“New Zealand authorities are now working with their international counterparts to bring the prisoner back to New Zealand to face justice.  However, this is a complex and potentially lengthy process and it needs to be able to take its course.

“While this is good news, it’s clearly unacceptable that the prisoner has been able to escape and leave the country, and we are working to understand the circumstances that led to his absconding.

“It appears there have been a number of failings and there are several questions that need answering before we can determine any accountability. A multi-agency review will look at these issues across the board.

“As I announced on Monday, Ministers are also seeking advice on whether a broader inquiry is needed. I am expecting advice on that before the end of the week, and will be discussing that advice with my colleagues.”