New Zealand PM gets threat letters

Mark Feary, a 53-year-old farmer, has been found guilty by a district court.

Updated: Jul 22, 2010, 13:03 PM IST

Auckland: New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has been threatened with grievous bodily harm in a series of faxed letters, two of which read: "It`s killing time”.

Mark Feary, a 53-year-old farmer from North Canterbury, has been found guilty by the Christchurch district court of threatening to kill the Prime Minister, and has been fined USD 20,000 for writing the threat letters.

Feary questioned how the threats could be regarded as serious if the police took eight days to arrest him.

He told the jury he would go on a hunger strike if he was sent to jail.

"I will not eat the corrupt government`s food and I will not drink the corrupt government`s water," Feary was quoted as saying by the New Zealand Herald.

The threats were made after a long-running property dispute with successive governments over his family farm.

The judge, however, said the man was thriving on all the attention.

"As far as I can tell, this person wants to be sent to prison to make a martyr of himself. I am satisfied he should not be allowed that luxury," he said, imposing a USD 500 fine on the threats to cause grievous bodily harm, and USD 7,000 fines for the two threats to kill - a total of USD 20,000.