Man accused of breaching nonexistent conditions

JONO GALUSZKA
Last updated 12:00 16/08/2014

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A Palmerston North man has been charged with breaching his prison release conditions for the second time, despite having no conditions imposed on his release.

The Probation Service is pushing ahead with charging Samuel Graeme Hoani with breaching his prison release conditions, despite his lawyer putting it on notice about the situation and an almost identical charge having already been dismissed.

Hoani appeared in the Palmerston North District Court this week charged with burglary, possessing car conversion instruments and breaching conditions of his release from prison.

Police withdrew the burglary charge and he was sentenced to three months' prison on the conversion charge.

But he pleaded not guilty to the breach, because of circumstances outlined by his defence lawyer Peter Coles.

Hoani was sentenced in the same court on May 14 last year to a sentence of imprisonment by Judge Gerard Lynch.

During that sentencing, the judge said twice there would be no release conditions, Coles said.

Despite the judge's specific direction, Hoani was arrested earlier this year and charged with breaching his release conditions.

He spent 10 days in custody before having a bail hearing, at which Probation opposed his bail.

Coles said it was granted by Judge Jennifer Binns despite the opposition.

That charge, laid earlier this year, was withdrawn after Probation found there was a "reasonable excuse" for conditions not being adhered to, Coles said.

"The reality is that Mr Hoani's previous charge was withdrawn and there is the same defence available. It is a complete defence to the charge."

Judge David Smith said he was keen to get the matter sorted as soon as possible, and asked if it was able to be resolved that day.

It could not, so he had to put it off for a case review.

Hoani was remanded until a nominal date in October, but the matter could be called earlier depending on how the case progressed.

The Department of Corrections would not be commenting on a matter that was before the courts, a spokesperson said.

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- Manawatu Standard

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