Phillip Smith tried to extort $25,000 from a man who later killed himself, court documents reveal.

Judicial files released to NZME. News Service today show that Smith tried to blackmail his victim while he was on bail following child sex abuse charges.

Smith, who was arrested in a Brazilian hostel yesterday after less than a week on the run, was arrested on September 12, 1995 after a boy told his family that Smith had been sexually abusing him over a three-year period.

Some time between September 28 and October 10 of that year, Smith embarked on his blackmail bid. His victim's response was to leave information for police before killing himself.


Smith was arrested on October 11 for attempted blackmail but was later released.

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While on release Smith tracked down the family of the boy he abused and on December 11 stabbed the boy's father to death in the front of the whole family.

According to charge sheets related to the blackmail plot, Smith "threatened to make a disclosure about [the victim] of sexual misconduct, namely sexual indecencies".

During Smith's sentencing in April 1996 for blackmail - three months before his trial on the murder and abuse charges - Justice Paul Neazor said: "The consequences of what you have done have been great. The man you threatened is dead.

"Another person who worked with him has found his position financially and emotionally severely harmed."

Justice Neazor jailed Smith for two and a half years. He said the crime was done "callously for gain" and highlighted the significance of the fact Smith was on bail for the sexual offending at the time.

"You simply destroyed this man's peace of mind and were content to cause whatever followed for the sake of making some substantial gain," he said,

Smith faced the blackmail charge along with two other people but their identities, as well as that of the victim, were permanently suppressed by Justice Neazor.

The charges against the other two were later dropped.

In the judgment it was also revealed Smith had some 20 convictions for previous offending, which involved dishonesty, wilful damage and assault.


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