Grasp opportunity to reform, judge tells young offender

A man who blamed his criminal offences on a legal-high addiction has been described as a classic case of "you can lead a horse to water, but can't make it drink".

Johnathan Blair, 24, was sentenced in the Palmerston North District Court on Monday to 20 months' jail on charges of burglary, disorderly behaviour, theft, assault, breach of release conditions and failure to answer bail.

On October 18, 2013, Blair and a co-offender smashed a bedroom window at a Camerons Line, Feilding house, where they stole electronics, clothing and alcohol and took it away in a car.

They were caught on security cameras installed in the house.

Some items were recovered when police went to Blair's house, but a victim impact statement said 75 per cent of the stolen items were not returned.

The disorderly behaviour was in The Square, on February 21, 2014, when Blair and his partner argued over a cellphone. There was a scuffle and his partner was pushed into a parking meter.

On February 22, 2014, Blair was at his father's house in Bulls when the theft and assault happened.

Blair threatened the victim, and demanded his wallet and pin number for his card. Later, Blair began punching and kneeing the victim.

Judge Gerard Lynch said Blair had a list of previous criminal convictions, and in a pre-sentence report blamed his offending on a legal-high addiction.

It was a classic case of "you can lead a horse to water but can't force the horse to drink", the judge said.

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"You've had many, many opportunities to grasp the nettle of rehabilitation, but you have not."

Blair was also ordered to pay reparation of $80 for the theft, plus $3897.20 for the burglary.

 - Manawatu Standard

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