Governor dashes Reid's hopes for early release

DISGRACED former government prosecutor Warwick Reid, 45, has been denied an early release from prison.

A Government House spokesman said Governor Chris Patten had considered Reid's petition, and ''exercised his power to remit the convicted lawyer's sentence by one year'' instead of the requested three-year reduction.

It is now believed that the earliest possible date for Reid's release will be November 29, next year.

Reid, who has been detained in the Special Unit at Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre since February, would then be immediately deported to New Zealand.

After subtracting the one-year remittance, good behaviour would reduce the remaining seven-year term by one-third, requiring Reid to serve four years and eight months in jail since his arrest on March 30, 1990.

Mr Patten's decision is expected to demoralise Reid, who hoped to be free to take a case to the Privy Council in November to force the Hongkong Government to lift caveats on properties owned by his family in New Zealand.

Reid has yet to pay a cent of the $12.4 million in unexplained assets that led to his conviction.

Before he was detained in Manila in December 1989, Reid deposited large sums of money in an account in Singapore, using his mother's maiden name.

ICAC investigators are aware of the allegations that the illegally obtained millions are said to be secure in Taiwan but have made no official statement on the matter.

Reid's wife, Judith, has been allowed frequent conjugal visits to the Murray Road Car Park Building cells, and has been given special protection, including accommodation at the luxurious Parkview apartments, when she has travelled here from New Zealand.