Remanded man flees country

A Uruguayan national who admitted indecently assaulting a Queenstown woman in December has fled the country while on bail awaiting sentencing.

Martin Avenatti-Cuna (27), who had been living at Lake Hayes Estate, was last month convicted of the December 16 incident and remanded on bail until yesterday, when he was to appear in the Queenstown District Court for sentencing.

However, duty solicitor Mike Newell said he understood Avenatti-Cuna had ''left the country''.

''I have had no contact since just after the last appearance.

''[His wife and child] reside here, but they were overseas at the time [of the offending].

''His wife was away, he was drinking and got amorous [with the victim] ... as a consequence of the alcohol and his wife and child [being] away.''

Prosecuting Sergeant Rob Mills told Judge Kevin Phillips Avenatti-Cuna had left New Zealand on January 21, bound for Santiago.

Judge Phillips issued a warrant for Avenatti-Cuna's arrest and granted an application from Mr Newell to be withdrawn from representing the defendant.