Jail term over Covid 'cure' converted to home detention

Ngatea man Roger William Blake, pictured in 2011, is heading home after having his jail term...
Ngatea man Roger William Blake, pictured in 2011, is heading home after having his jail term converted to three months' home detention. Photo: NZ Herald / Elaine Fisher
After 97 days behind bars, Roger William Blake is heading home after having his jail term converted to home detention.

In January, Blake was found to have "seized upon the tragedy of the Covid pandemic as a money-making opportunity" by selling bleach as a cure for the virus, which made his company more than $100,000 during the global event.

The public gallery in the Hamilton District Court was packed with the Ngatea man’s supporters who witnessed him get jailed for 10 and a half months on charges related to breaches laid by MedSafe under the Medicines Act and obstructing a Ministry of Health officer.

There were also charges of making a false statement about himself and his company possessing, advertising and selling products dubbed "MMS", or Miracle Mineral Solution; essentially chlorine dioxide - bleach - mixed with water.

At the time, Judge Brett Crowley granted leave for the 61-year-old to have his jail term converted to home detention if he co-operated with Corrections in doing the necessary paperwork.

Blake, who has previously gone by several different versions of his name, including "Roger William living man" could have been out in 96 days if he had confirmed his birth name to Judge Noel Cocurullo on Wednesday.

"So it’s Roger William Blake?" Judge Cocurullo asked him to which Blake, appearing via audio-visual link from Spring Hill Prison, replied, "yep, that’s right, over which I’m power of attorney".

"So you’re unable to confirm that you’re Roger William Blake," the judge asked him again.

"No I’m Roger William," he replied.

The judge instead changed tack and asked him to confirm his date of birth.

"I was born on that date but the legal entity was birthed at the same point."

Judge Cocurullo said the matter would have to be adjourned so he could come to court in person, but Blake wasn’t happy.

"I’ve got a daughter from Australia waiting to see me at home and I would not be impressed having to wait another month to get this sorted."

"Sir, the problem is of your making," the judge responded. "I have tried to get confirmation of who you are."

Blake was remanded a further night in custody and reappeared before Judge Kiriana Tan on Thursday.

Blake stood steadfast in maintaining his name was "Roger William" and that he had power of attorney, signed by a barrister, over the entity that is Roger Blake.

A probation officer was soon after able to confirm it was Blake by use of a photo in Corrections’ system.

Judge Tan accepted he was the same man and worked out he’d served 97 days behind bars, 28 of which covered a stint before being sentenced.

She converted his jail term to three months’ home detention.

By Belinda Feek