Smuggled lizards were to be pets

A 24-year-old security guard has been sentenced to 18 weeks’ home detention and reparations for trying to bring four lizards into New Zealand from Thailand.

Two live and two dead lizards were found in Duncan Keith Absolum’s suitcase in a shoe and an umbrella, when it went missing on the flight, and was eventually delivered to Christchurch.

Absolum was charged with knowingly making a false declaration on his arrival declaration card under the Biosecurity Act, and attempting to possess unauthorised goods.

Defence counsel, Chris Nolan, said Absolum deeply regretted his actions, but he liked the look of the lizards which he wanted to keep as pets, and not for financial gain.

Judge Gary McAskill said the two live lizards were euthanised as they were a bio-security risk and had mites on them.

He said the lizards suffered because of Absolum’s cruelty, and ignorance of the rules about bringing the lizards into New Zealand did not excuse the offending.

He sentenced him to the home detention sentence and reparation of $150 costs for euthanising the lizards.

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