When 501 deportee Aaron Paul Pryce arrived in New Zealand, he was forbidden to enter any licenced premises besides a supermarket.
The 41-year-old, who was deported last year after serving an eight-year sentence for a home invasion, felt the restriction imposed by the Department of Corrections was unfair, saying he's done his time and should be able to enjoy a beer with his mates.
Today a judge agreed with him – and now he's encouraging other deportees to follow his lead and challenge any conditions they feel have been unfairly imposed on them.
"I have tried to do the right thing and I got a win, and every other 501 should do the same thing and we can all catch up for a beer at some stage."
Pryce, who had to leave his fiancée and children when he was deported from Australia in November, appeared before Judge Ian Carter in the Whanganui District Court today to challenge the restriction.
Defence lawyer Elliot Copeland said Pryce, who was working as a window cleaner, wanted to be able to have a social drink with his family or workmates as part of his reintegration into the community.
Copeland said the father-of-two had been drug-free for 10 years and was not challenging any of the other conditions imposed on him.
A Department of Corrections representative said the control, which would have remained in force until November 2023, was designed to mitigate the risk of any offending.
Pryce told the judge he had done his time and appealed for the right to have a social drink in licensed premises.
"I'm trying to do things the right way by coming here and getting it lifted instead of just going out. I have done my time."
Judge Carter said he considered it was appropriate and deleted the restriction.
Outside of the court Pryce was quick to enjoy his new freedom by having a beer in the Commercial Hotel directly opposite the courthouse.
He said it had been frustrating not to be able to go to a cafe or restaurant with his family and encouraged other 501s to follow his lead and appeal against conditions placed on them they believed were unfair.
"It was disappointing that I couldn't walk in with my family and I had to wait outside.”
"I was emotionally up and down, I felt that after doing my time in Australia I am a free man over here as I have no criminal convictions in this country.
Pryce said being forced to leave the country he had called home for 35 years was difficult, and even harder on his family - including his 11-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter.
"They (my children) were shattered, they were expecting their father to come home and the Australian Government kicked me out after I had lived there for more than 30 years."
Pryce said his return to New Zealand was made easier by the support of his parents and sister and he hoped to bring his son and daughter over to visit during the school holidays in the future.
"You have got to look at life in a positive way. You can't just sit around thinking 'poor me I have been deported'."
- by Leighton Keith, Open Justice