Thief wants to work with victims

CALEB HARRIS
Last updated 14:21 04/03/2014

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Wairarapa

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Confusion reigned in a court after a woman who stole from a restorative justice service asked to go through a restorative justice process facilitated by the same organisation. 

During her appearance in Masterton District Court on Monday, Daniella Marie Kingi, 20, pleaded guilty to all three charges and told the court through her lawyer Frank Minehan that she wanted to go through a restorative justice process with victims of two thefts.

But there was a catch - one of the victims, Wairarapa Restorative Justice Services, was also in charge of facilitating the process.

Judge Thomas Broadmore said the court would have to "feel [its] way through" the case, as he had never come across a similar one - and because Kingi's pregnancy of seven months made it difficult for her to travel from Waitara in Taranaki, where she now lives, for restorative justice meetings.

The court heard that Kingi, originally of Featherston, stole a $14,000 Toyota Prado ute in Featherston on January 7 and drove it to Waitara, where she was arrested.

Later that month in Featherston she stole $87 worth of petrol from a petrol station and number plates worth $30 from a vehicle belonging to Presbyterian Support Central, which employs Wairarapa Restorative Justice Services to facilitate voluntary, court-approved encounters between victims and offenders.

A representative of Wairarapa Restorative Justice Services said in court it found itself in an unusual situation, but facilitators from elsewhere could be brought in.

Mr Minehan said a restorative justice meeting with the ute's owner would happen next week, and that the petrol had already been repaid.

Judge Broadmore remanded Kingi on bail until March 17 for sentencing, by which time the court will have the meeting reports.

Kingi, a beneficiary, said outside court she took the ute to see her partner in Waitara, which was "stupid". She stole the number plates because she had no money to refill a rental car's tank. She said she had learned her lesson and moved to Waitara because "there's too much trouble in Featherston."

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- The Dominion Post

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