Kiwi arrested in Cambodia ‘a free man’ after charges dropped

April 1, 2016 7:30 pm

James Eglitis from Australia (L) and Brett Hastie from were arrested by Cambodian Police in Siem Reap. Photo / Cambodia Police

A New Zealand man arrested in Cambodia after an elderly teacher was attacked and robbed has today been told all charges against him have been dropped.
Dunedin man Brett Hastie, 44, today received a letter from Cambodian authorities telling him he had been released from all charges.
Mr Hastie was taken into custody last October alongside Australian fugitive Guido James Eglitis, 68, after a 66-year-old Briton was attacked and had his passport and camera stolen.
Mr Hastie was released on bail in late November.
In a post on his Facebook page, Mr Hastie could not hide his relief.
“Signed, sealed, delivered … got the paper, off the hook!!!” he wrote, adding details would follow later.
His father, Trevor Hastie, told the New Zealand Herald he received a phone call from his son earlier today with word the nightmare had come to an end.
“All charges have been dropped,” said Mr Hastie.
“He’s a free man.”
Mr Hastie said his son told him he would be tending to business affairs in Cambodia before heading back to New Zealand for a holiday.
He said the latest development came as a complete relief after a harrowing six months since he was taken into custody.
“It really is the best we all hoped for,” said his father.
“He told me “it’s a monkey off my back”.
It is unclear if his co-accused Eglitis was freed from charges.
The fugitive is wanted in Australia on kidnapping and torture charges.
Eglitis fled Australia on the eve of being committed to stand trial in Brisbane in 2007 after a magistrate ruled there was enough evidence to potentially convict him of attacking businessman Ronald Sydney Ryton-Benson.
He faces outstanding charges of kidnapping, deprivation of liberty, robbery, impersonating an officer and possessing restricted items.
It was thought at the time his court appearance in Cambodia could trigger his extradition back to Australia.
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