Killer wins court battle for wig

Central Station | Mar 17, 2017
A convicted murderer and child molester in New Zealand won a lawsuit yesterday arguing prison authorities breached his rights by confiscating a toupee he used to disguise himself when fleeing the country.

Phillip John Smith fled to Brazil in November 2014 while on temporary release from Auckland Prison. At the time, he was sporting a hairpiece he had been given permission to wear two years earlier "to improve his self esteem".

When he was recaptured and returned to New Zealand the wig was confiscated and images of Smith's bald pate were splashed across the media when he appeared in court.

"I felt totally belittled, degraded and humiliated," he told the High Court earlier this month.

Smith was sentenced to life in 1996 for sexually abusing a boy over a three- year period, then tracking down his victim after his family fled to another city. Smith broke into the family's house and fatally stabbed the boy's father as he tried to protect his son.

The 42-year-old told the court he was extremely sensitive about his baldness.

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June 2017