Tracker flaw exploited by dealer

The trial began today at Dunedin District Court. File photo: ODT
Photo: ODT files
A Milton drug dealer’s attempt to foil authorities has fallen flat.

Nahi Teraukura Bishop, 28, appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday where he was jailed for five months for breaching his home-detention sentence.

The court heard he used a method which is becoming increasingly popular among the South’s criminal community, known as "foiling", to block the signal from his electronic tracker.

The loophole — which police, in a report leaked to media, said was being exploited "regularly" — involved wrapping the ankle bracelet tightly in tin foil so Corrections was unable to definitively confirm a person had left their address.

Bishop fled his home on October 4 and was inadvertently spotted by police the next day 160km away in Oamaru.

He was a month away from completing a nine-month home-detention term, imposed for methamphetamine dealing, when a Probation officer visited his home for a "routine visit", the court heard.

Bishop’s mother checked the property and confirmed he was not there.

Inquiries with the electronic monitoring centre confirmed the man had interfered with his tracking device and was on the run.

Later that day, police informed Corrections Bishop had been in a vehicle travelling through Oamaru and had falsely claimed he had obtained an approved absence.

Court documents specifically referred to the defendant "foiling" to avoid detection.

The leaked internal police report warns public safety will continue to be compromised because of a "combination of heightened demand and systemic monitoring limitations".

"The public and judiciary are likely of the opinion that offenders on EM [electronic monitoring] are closely monitored at all times, this cannot confidently be assured by the current system," it said.

Foiling generates an alert that is similar to the regular intermittent loss of signal alerts, which Corrections receives "a lot of", the report says.

Judge David Robinson yesterday said Bishop had a history of poor compliance and he suspected the judge who had earlier sentenced Bishop to home detention "was taking a bit of a chance’’ on him.

Imprisonment was now his only option.

A 36-year-old man will also appear in court this week over alleged foiling.

He was charged with perverting the course of justice after covering his electronic tracker and was allegedly found with eight knives when he was arrested.