Jared Savage is the New Zealand Herald's investigations editor.

1147 convictions NZ's worst crim is way in the lead

New Zealand's worst criminal stands at 1147 convictions. Photo / Supplied
New Zealand's worst criminal stands at 1147 convictions. Photo / Supplied

New Zealand's most prolific criminal has more than 1100 convictions, documents issued to the Herald show.

Details of the top 10 recidivist criminals have been released by the Justice Ministry under the Official Information Act, including the number of convictions, the category of offence and the time period in which the crimes were committed.

The convictions of the criminal at the top of the list date back to 1980.

But that person's name, and the others, have been kept secret on privacy grounds. The Herald has appealed to the Office of the Ombudsmen to review the ministry's decision.

"Offender 1" racked up 1147 convictions between 1980 and 2005, including 1119 for fraud and deception offences. Of those, 724 were committed in a five-year period.

That total is nearly double the other prolific fraudsters and thieves in the top 10.

Second on the list was 681 convictions, followed by 614, then 613.

The top 10 is rounded out by someone with 492 convictions, including 191 public order offences and 105 against "justice procedures, government security and government operations".

The only other member of the top 10 whose criminal record is not dominated by fraud charges is "Offender 6". Of the 585 convictions, 353 are for theft and 167 for public disorder.

Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Garth McVicar said the names of the offenders should be made public in the interest of an open justice system.

"We would even go one step further - we believe all that information should be available on a public website.

"Our justice system is funded by the public and they say we have an open and honest justice system, but actually we don't - it's secret-squirrel stuff."

- NZ Herald

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