Job loss follows fraud

JIMMY ELLINGHAM
Last updated 14:46 06/02/2013

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A man with more than 150 dishonesty convictions has lost the job that appeared to help get him a lighter punishment for his latest offending.

His work ended after his boss found out about his criminal past.

In December, Brian Damien Hunter successfully appealed a 12-month home-detention sentence imposed in relation to six emails he sent to a woman.

Instead, at the High Court at Wellington, Justice David Collins allowed Hunter to serve six months’ community detention in Hastings, where he is subject to a 7pm to 7am daily curfew.

This, the judge said, would enable him to work.

Now Hunter has lost the job the court knew about – building a wireless network system in Marlborough for Dashnet.

Dashnet owner Barry Feickert said he had no idea of Hunter’s criminal past or that a letter he had written went before the court.

A pre-sentence report prepared in November said Hunter’s risk of re-offending would increase if he could not work.

Mr Feickert has now learned of Hunter’s history – including his 162 convictions between 1975 and 2001 – and has let him go.

He is also unhappy a letter he wrote about Hunter’s work for Dashnet, dated November 19, was given to Justice Collins.

Mr Feickert thought the letter was to apply for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise grants. ‘‘I thought it was worth giving him a go because he can do a lot of this stuff. I was going to find him a house in Seddon.’’

He was even going to pay Hunter’s relocation costs.

When he was working for Dashnet, Hunter would travel to Marlborough. As recently as last fortnight he stayed with Mr Feickert.

A Corrections Department spokeswoman said offenders could apply to the court to vary conditions of their sentence. ‘‘While Corrections does not normally comment on individual offenders, in this particular matter, the offender has complied with the conditions set by the court.’’

Hunter’s latest offending happened between March 2009 and January 2010, when he fraudulently used a Wellington lawyer’s email header and footer when communicating with a woman about a property purchase.

At his original sentencing in Palmerston North in June, a doctor’s report said he had post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other problems.

His appeal was based on the fact that ‘‘substantial facts relating to.... the offender’s character or personal history were not before the court imposing sentence’’.

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Included in Hunter’s criminal history is a two-year jail term in 1995 on 62 charges, many for obtaining credit by fraud and false pretences.

From October 1993 he posed as a businessman, used different names and pretended to work for different companies to obtain credit and property worth about $78,000.

In a separate fraud in 1994 to 1995, he obtained $122,360 worth of property by pretending to work for fictitious companies.

Hunter did not return calls.

- Manawatu Standard

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