Court of Appeal rejects Jan Antolik's bid to quash conviction and says jury entitled to reject framing theory as "far-fetched".

A businessman convicted of smuggling drugs into New Zealand claims he was framed in revenge for his evidence which helped convict a murderer.

Jan Antolik, whose real name is Karel Sroubek, was jailed in 2016 for five years and nine months after being convicted of importing the Class-B MDMA powder hidden among a shipment of legitimate goods.

The conviction came four years after a judge discharged him without conviction, despite being found guilty of having a false passport and lying to immigration officials.

Sroubek came to New Zealand from the Czech Republic in September 2003 to start a new life as Jan Antolik.


Sroubek, aged 22 at the time, and his family had been threatened by two police officers who wanted them to lie and clear the main suspect in a murder investigation.

Instead, he left a videotaped witness statement, which was later crucial in convicting the killer, and fled the country with a doctored passport.

He was unmasked in October 2009 when Czech police called Auckland detectives and gave details of his identity and an arrest warrant on minor charges in connection with the 2003 murder.

Antolik pleaded not guilty to the charges but admitted using a false identity to come to New Zealand.

His defence was he had a "reasonable excuse'' to give a false name as he had fled his homeland in fear of corrupt police officers and a criminal.

The Crown did not dispute his story but said Antolik should have revealed his true identity to New Zealand authorities.

Jan Antolik was a representative kickboxer.
Jan Antolik was a representative kickboxer.

The jury convicted him but Judge Roy Wade gave him a second chance, as a conviction would provide grounds for automatic deportation for the representative kickboxer.

He was convinced that Antolik would still be in danger from corrupt Czech authorities and the man he helped convict of murder if he were deported back to the Czech Republic.


"I am satisfied that your initial false applications were as a result of you doing the right thing, not the wrong thing, and furthermore, had you been frank with the authorities when you first came here, it seems plain that you would have been granted a work permit and, ultimately, residence in any event, on your own merits.''

Four years later, Antolik was convicted on the Ecstasy charge.

In appealing the drug conviction, Antolik claimed the police and Customs investigation was inadequate.

If conducted properly, Antolik said the investigation could have found a "reasonable possibility" the 5kg of MDMA was planted to frame him.

Revenge, by the person he helped convict of murder in the Czech Republic, was the motive given for the alleged framing.

The Court of Appeal rejected new evidence about the seals on the container, in which the drugs were found, and whether they could be tampered with to make it look as if they were locked.

This would allow someone to open the container, after it was "sealed", then plant the drugs.

Even if this evidence had been given at Antolik's trial, the Court of Appeal was not convinced it would change the outcome.

No one was tipped off about the shipment which would be likely if someone was trying to frame Antolik.

"The jury was entitled to reject Mr Antolik's simply not credible.

"That Mr Antolik was convicted following the jury's unanimous verdict simply reflects that the Crown had a strong case and the jury was entitled to conclude the defence theory was far-fetched."

The Ecstasy conviction is not the first brush with the law for the former representative kickboxer.

It can also be revealed that Antolik was arrested in Operation Ark, a covert investigation into Ecstasy analogue pills, just days after his false passport trial in 2011.

He was later convicted of being a party to the manufacture of Class-C controlled drugs, although the conviction was later overturned on a technical ground.

The Court of Appeal ordered Antolik stand trial again, this time on an alternative charge of possession of a Class C drug for supply, but the prosecution was abandoned.

The person he bought the pills from was Jeremy Hamish Kerr, later convicted as the 1080 blackmailer and who also admitted pressing the pills sold to Antolik.

The pills and the 5kg of Ecstasy, worth around $375,000, are the basis for a police forfeiture application to seize "tainted property", including money from sale of Antolik's $800,000 home.

Antolik had also been previously acquitted of committing an aggravated robbery with two members of the Hells Angels.

Talented but trouble


Karel Sroubek flees Czech Republic as witness to a murder. Enters New Zealand with false passport in name of Jan Antolik. Later gains residency and represents his new country as a kickboxer.

2009: True identity discovered when Czech police contact their counterparts in NZ.

2010: Arrested with two Hells Angels on aggravated robbery and blackmail charges. Acquitted on all charges.

2011: Jury finds him guilty of using false passport and giving false details to Immigration officials. Arrested soon after as part of Operation Ark, a covert investigation into Ecstasy-like pills.

2012: Judge discharges him without conviction on false identity charges so Antolik is not automatically deported.

2014: Convicted of manufacturing Class-C drug from Operation Ark arrest. Conviction overturned but Crown abandons second trial. A few months later, arrested importing 5kg of MDMA, a Class-B controlled drug, used in Ecstasy.

2016: Convicted of importing MDMA and jailed for five years and nine months, but identity kept secret by sentencing judge.

2017: Name suppression lifted. Court of Appeal rejects bid to quash conviction.