A man who breached his release conditions by leaving the country for Australia has been sentenced to community work.

Kris Willoughby, 30, was freed from prison in September but defied the conditions of his release by leaving the approved address he was staying at and flying from Auckland to Brisbane in late October.

At his sentencing in North Shore District Court today, Judge Russell Collins said a warrant was issued for Willoughby's arrest in Australia when it was found he had failed to declare his convictions when entering the country.

His Australian visa was subsequently revoked.

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The revelation he had moved to Australia made headlines at the time because it happened in the same week convicted murder and child molester Phillip John Smith fled New Zealand.

Willoughby's lawyer Geoff Anderson today queried the media interest surrounding his client, saying he had no idea who Smith was.

Willoughby was supported in court today by his brother and wife who had flown from Australia.

A second charge of breaching his release conditions - for allegedly failing to report to his probation officer within 72 hours - was withdrawn by Judge Collins on the proviso Willoughby pleaded guilty to the first charge.

Each charge carried a maximum penalty of one years' imprisonment.

Judge Collins described Willoughby as a "young man with a chequered past" and sentenced him to 40 hours' community work, saying it was the best outcome to enable Willoughby to secure employment and raise his two children.

A Department of Corrections spokeswoman previously confirmed Willoughby had completed a sentence which was "significantly less" than two years.

Customs said he used a valid passport to leave the country and there were no alerts in the organisation's computer system to prevent him from doing so.

While in Australia, Willoughby was convicted on charges of wilful damage and receiving tainted property on December 8.

Southport Magistrates Court confirmed he was fined A$2500 ($2681) and ordered to return the property to its rightful owner.

Australian police did not respond to questions over how they failed to detain Willoughby at the time, despite his being a wanted man.

Queensland Police said Willoughby was handed over to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection last Wednesday.