Former NZ Idol winner Matthew Saunoa leaves Southport Magistrates Court after an appearance last year. Picture: Lea Emery.
Former NZ Idol winner Matthew Saunoa leaves Southport Magistrates Court after an appearance last year. Picture: Lea Emery.

Calls to deport former NZ Idol winner

A FORMER top cop has questioned why a former New Zealand Idol winner convicted repeatedly of drug offences has been allowed to remain in the community.

Matthew John Saunoa has been convicted of drug related charges and stealing three times in the past year.

He was set to be sentenced on a fourth set of drugs charges on Monday but did not appear at the Southport Magistrates Court.

He has been charged with possessing dangerous drugs, possessing utensils, failing to dispose of a syringe, unlawful use of a motor vehicle and three counts of stealing.

Saunoa's lawyer Troy Smith, of Moloney MacCallum Abdelshahied Lawyers, told the court the firm had not received any contact from Saunoa since he was granted bail in November.

A relative also attended the court appearance in the hopes of contacting Saunoa.

Magistrate Mark Howden issued a warrant for Saunoa's arrest.

 

 

Matthew Saunoa shot to fame in 2006 when he won the third series of New Zealand Idol.
Matthew Saunoa shot to fame in 2006 when he won the third series of New Zealand Idol.

 

 

In May last year Saunoa pleaded guilty to 17 charges and was placed on probation for two years, fined $600, disqualified from driving for one month and ordered pay $245 restitution.

Two months later he was sentenced to 18 months probation when he pleaded guilty in the Southport Magistrates Court to possessing dangerous drugs, possessing tainted property, possessing drug related utensils and failing to properly dispose of a syringe.

In November, Saunoa pleaded guilty to failing to appear in court and was fined $400.

The singer shot to fame in 2006 when he won the third series of New Zealand Idol.

His winning single, Hold Out, topped the New Zealand singles chart.

Sources told the Bulletin that if Saunoa keeps offending he runs a risk of being deported.

Former Gold Coast top cop Jim Keogh said the punishment for these crimes, especially imprisonment, was a drain on the taxpayer.

"When they are impacting on the community they should be deported," he said.

Mr Keogh said repeat offenders like Saunoa were also an impost on police resources.

"From a police perspective, we have enough trouble policing our own criminals let alone those from overseas," he said.

 

 

Jim Keogh. Picture: Jamie Hanson.
Jim Keogh. Picture: Jamie Hanson.

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Under federal law a non-Australian citizen is automatically deported if they spend more than 12 months behind bars.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton can also make a "captain's call" if it is determined someone does not meet the "character test".

Broadwater MP David Crisafulli said the situation was a concern.

"How many times can someone fail to front up for their day in court before bail is no longer justified?" he said.

"How many times can an individual thumb their nose at our laws before enough is enough?

"Most Queenslanders I talk to believe we are losing the law and order battle in this state."

Mr Dutton's office was unable to comment by the time the Bulletin went to print.

It is understood they are seeking more information on Saunoa's background.