TODAY |

Man connected to 'unruly' British tourists sentenced over roofing scam

By Katie Todd of rnz.co.nz

A man who is one of the "unruly" British tourists according to police has been sentenced for trying to leave the country on his brother's passport - and is promising to return to the UK.

James Doyle was one of four people sought by police over a roofing scam, and arrested at Christchurch Airport in April while trying to flee under the false identity.

In Christchurch District Court this afternoon, the 29-year-old entered a guilty plea through his lawyer, Andrew McKenzie.

McKenzie said Doyle had applied for an urgent passport, which was expected to arrive within three days. He said Doyle was keen to "get on" with the sentencing, so he could return home to be with his family.

Judge Tom Gilbert sentenced Doyle to five months in prison, taking into account the guilty plea and noting that due to time already spent in custody he would be eligible for release later this month.

Mr Gilbert said the sentence reflected that Doyle had only been in the country for a short time, since arriving on a visitors visa on 18 January.

He said it also reflected that "New Zealand as a country has a strong interest in protecting its borders".

Doyle had earlier been facing another passport-related charge - of loaning his own passport to help an associate leave - but the police dropped that charge today.

Doyle has met with staff from the Immigration Department, which will help him to leave New Zealand of his own volition before he is deported.

The Christchurch courthouse.
The Christchurch courthouse. Source: 1 NEWS