Daughter motivates man to mend ways

03:21, Nov 15 2012

A Blenheim man has been sent to prison for two years for a string of robberies in Picton and Nelson.

Jonathon Leslie Leaning and co-offender Michael James Reece broke into two Picton businesses and also took three copper plant pots from Picton homes between January 26 and February 1.

Leaning, 40, unemployed of Redwoodtown, also entered a building in Wakefield near Nelson with intent to commit a crime between January 20 and 23.

In Blenheim District Court yesterday, Judge Tony Zohrab sentenced Leaning to two years and three months in prison after Leaning earlier admitted three charges of entering a building with intent to commit a crime, two charges of entering a yard with intent to commit a crime, three charges of dishonestly taking the copper plant pots and a charge of illegally possessing four 12-gauge shotgun shells.

Reece, 37, of Picton, had been sentenced in April after admitting his part in the Picton burglaries.

Defence lawyer Bryony Millar said Leaning accepted prison was the only option because there was nowhere suitable for him to serve an electronic sentence. Leaning had already spent 10 months in custody since his arrest, she said.


While in prison he had completed courses to help prevent him reoffending. He was keen to get home in time to see his daughter start school soon and she was a big motivation for him not to reoffend, Mrs Millar said.

Judge Zohrab said Leaning had suffered a serious head injury in a car accident that prevented him from working and affected his behaviour, but he also had a history of dishonesty offences including burglary.

Given the time he had already served in custody, Leaning would be able to apply for parole almost immediately, Judge Zohrab said.

Also in court yesterday, Carlos Fabio Ryan-Barwell, 22, of Nelson, admitted a charge of wilful damage after smashing a car window during an argument with his girlfriend. He was remanded for sentencing on December 10.

Prosecutor Mark Lucas said Ryan-Barwell's girlfriend had locked herself in a friend's car for safety after an argument with him in Blenheim on November 13.

Ryan-Barwell then began punching the car and yelling at her to unlock the doors, he said.

One of his blows smashed a window, which would cost $100 to replace.

Defence lawyer John Holdaway said Ryan-Barwell did not mean to break the window and was "quite shocked" when it happened.

The Marlborough Express