A Christchurch teen has been fined $500 for refusing to give police the password to his iPhone as they searched his house in relation to an alleged threat before the Christchurch terrorist attack anniversary.
Nineteen-year-old Sam Brittenden's Christchurch home was searched in early March following reports of a threat on an encrypted messaging app, accompanied by a photo of a masked man sitting in a car outside a Christchurch mosque.
He has not been charged in relation to that threat.
The Christchurch District Court today heard how the police searched his home and found a cellphone on his brother's bed.
He initially denied it was his, but gave police his phone number and when they rung that number, the cellphone rung.
He then provided several incorrect passwords, telling police he had "forgotten" his passcode.
Brittenden's lawyer, James Rapley QC, told the court his client was pleading guilty to the one charge of failing to assist with a search warrant.
He said the student had made a "mistake and was foolish". He eventually gave police the correct code and spent a night in the police cells "for his troubles".
Mr Rapley said "police have analysed the phone and have told Brittenden that there won't be any further charges".
His client has written a letter to police apologising for wasting their time.
In convicting and fining the teenager, the judge told the court he "can't understand what was on the phone that you didn't want police to see"
"It's a puzzle to me really," he said.
Brittenden has been convicted and fined $500 and ordered to pay an additional $130 court costs.
He left court today flanked by private security guards and was whisked away by a waiting vehicle.