|New Zealand Press
August 9, 2000
Counseling For Lord of
the Rings Thief
The 36-year-old, who has interim name suppression pending an appeal, last month pleaded guilty to one charge of receiving three videotapes and another of dealing in a reproduced document.
In Auckland District Court on Wednesday, Judge David Robinson said the man had promoted the sale of two tapes over the internet as "exclusive, never seen before" footage of the film. The asking price for a raw 90-minute tape was $US50,000 ($NZ111,358). There was also a one-minute digital video tape available for sale.
Police had been investigating the incident for about six weeks before negotiating to buy the 90-minute tape in June for $US5000 through a covert operation. Money changed hands and the offender, who had been negotiating the sale under an alias, was identified and arrested on June 24.
No footage was sent overseas before the man, who has one previous conviction, was arrested.
Giving his sentence, Judge Robinson took into account that the man had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and had repaid the $US5000 earned from the illegal sale.
He was also instrumental in the return of 17 other stolen tapes containing advance footage of the Lord of the Rings, being directed by New Zealander Peter Jackson.
The man cannot be identified for the next seven days while defence representative Lester Cordwell lodges an appeal on Judge Robinson's order to lift name suppression. - NZPA