An autistic man arrested for stealing lightbulbs in the wake of the Christchurch earthquake has withdrawn his guilty plea over the alleged theft.
Police found Cornelius Arie Smith-Voorkamp, 25, taking light bulbs and a light fitting from an abandoned Christchurch home in the days after the February 22 quake.
He was refused diversion after admitting burglary and possession of tools for burglary.
Defence lawyer Jonathan Eaton today told Rangiora District Court today his client was withdrawing that plea.
He argued Smith-Voorkamp's Asbergers Sydrome compels him to take light fixtures.
Criminal intent was unlikely and the level of the offence didn't warrant the gravity of the situation, he said.
Smith-Voorkamp was filmed by a television crew at a court sitting in the Christchurch Police Station watch house, and was described as "the face of looting" before the family caring for him made his medical condition known.
His defence team earlier said a complaint would be laid about his client being allegedly assaulted at the time of his arrest.
At his first appearance in court, Smith-Voorkamp had a black eye.
- Newstalk ZB and NZPA