Ransack of home shameful, judge says

Last updated 14:30 19/02/2013

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A 20-year-old Blenheim man should be ashamed of ransacking the home of a childhood friend, said Judge Susan Thomas in the Blenheim District Court yesterday.

Kyle Francis Morrison had earlier admitted charges of burglary and illegal possession of four rifles and a shotgun.

Morrison, 20, was sentenced to six months' community detention and intensive supervision for a year.

Judge Thomas said Morrison broke in through the cat door of the rural home on October 31. He ransacked the house taking electronic items along with meat from the freezer. He also broke into an antique gun cabinet and stole the guns, which were later found at his house, she said.

The guns had been in the family for more than 20 years, she said.

Reading from the victim impact statement, Judge Thomas told Morrison the victims were sensitive and supportive of him, but disappointed that the person they knew as a young child had then broken into their home and stolen from them.

"We genuinely hope someone or something can turn Kyle's life around from anti-social criminal behaviour to a contributing member of society," they wrote.

Defence lawyer Philip Watson said Morrison had been doing well working as a tractor driver at a vineyard and asked for him not to be given home detention, saying it was important for him to keep the job.

Judge Thomas said a pre-sentence report suggested Morrison was a high risk of reoffending and of harming others, but also recommended he receive a full psychiatric assessment for his alcohol issues, along with ADHD and other mental health issues, she said. Morrison was going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, she said.

Also appearing in court yesterday:

Karl Robert Kiernan, 21, a vineyard worker of Blenheim, was sentenced to nine months' supervision to complete drug and alcohol counselling and 260 hours' community work after admitting a string of burglaries in Kaikoura last year.

Kiernan admitted four charges of burglary and a charge of driving while disqualified, a third or subsequent offence.

Judge Thomas said the burglaries began when Kiernan lost his job and was told he would have to wait 13 weeks before getting the unemployment benefit.

Kiernan and an associate used bolt cutters to break into a series of commercial buildings around Kaikoura on June 16, 18 and 27 stealing scrap metal, gas bottles and other items worth more than $4000, she said. On July 3 they also stole $4000 worth of alcohol from a property in Culverden, she said. She ordered Kiernan to pay reparation of $3744.

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Defence lawyer Rennie Gould said since the offending Kiernan seemed to have turned a corner and his employers in Blenheim and the owners of the backpackers he was living in were extremely supportive of him.

Judge Thomas said Kiernan had saved $1400 to help pay the reparation which was impressive for someone his age. However, she warned Kiernan he had escaped a more serious punishment "by the skin of your teeth".

Sean Douglas Jones, 18, of Redwoodtown, admitted dangerous driving after rolling a car carrying four passengers on State Highway 63 on January 11 and was fined $300.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Mark Harris said Jones was on his restricted licence, was not properly supervised to carry passengers, who suffered cuts and bruises after he hit the grass verge and then swerved back towards the road causing the car to roll over before landing back on its wheels on the road, he said.

Defence lawyer Kent Arnott said the van belonging to Jones' father and had been written off and insurance would not cover the damage.

Metua Aberahama, 39, a driver of Phillipstown in Christchurch, admitted threatening behaviour with intent to frighten and was remanded for sentencing on April 8.

Ahotaeiloa Mafua, 30, of Yelverton, admitted charges of assault and being unlawfully in a yard and was remanded for sentencing on March 25.

Paul Gilbert, 62, from the United Kingdom, admitted careless driving after crashing head on into another car while driving on the wrong side of the road on Queen Charlotte Drive on February 16. He was fined $450. Mr Harris said the driver of the car which was hit suffered minor bruising from their seatbelt.

Gilbert told police he had just been in the United States and momentarily forgot which side of the road he was supposed to be driving on. Judge Thomas told him he was extremely lucky the accident was not more serious.

Marc Romain Brochier, 26, a vineyard worker, on a working holiday from France, admitted resisting police and offensive behaviour in Blenheim and was fined $350.

Judge Thomas told Brochier that it was not a good look for him having picked up three convictions in a week and his offending was serious.

Mark Whakahawea Love, 53, a labourer of Picton, admitted assaulting a police officer by pushing him three times in the chest on Saturday and was fined $250. Mr Harris said Love was a passenger in a car which was pulled over about 12.45am in Picton.

When the car stopped Love got out and began yelling at the officer before pushing him, while other passengers crowded round shouting at the officer, Mr Harris said.

The officer breath-tested the car driver who was not drink-driving and then arrested Love, who quickly calmed down and apologised for his behaviour, he said.

Clifford Francis Taniora Pihema, 33, a pruner of Tuamarina, was remanded for a restorative justice meeting with his victim after being charged with assaulting a family member.

Steven Adam Iriving, 31, of Takaka in Tasman, denied charges of aggravated assault on police, assaulting police, resisting police and breach of the Blenheim liquor ban and was remanded to reappear on March 5.

- The Marlborough Express

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