Arsonist's husband rejects home detention

JONO GALUSZKA
Last updated 12:52 25/07/2014

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A Horowhenua woman who tried to set fire to her neighbour's boat while drunk is unable to be sentenced to home detention because her husband will not approve it, a court has heard.

Rena Joyce, 49, was sentenced to 200 hours community work and 12 months' supervision in the Palmerston North District Court this morning for attempted arson and wilful damage.

A summary of facts said Joyce, who did not get along with her neighbours, walked to a property near her Tokomaru home and checked to see if anyone was home on April 13.

After discovering she was alone, she went to the back of the house and found an old car.

She picked up a plank of wood and used it to hit the car several times.

After that, she went to a shed where she found a boat parked inside on a trailer.

She found a petrol can, jumped on a boat and poured the flammable liquid onto the boat's deck.

But she was spooked off when the rural fire brigade's siren went off.

Defence lawyer Phillip Drummond said Joyce's offending took place after she drunk a large volume of alcohol.

Community detention was recommended in a pre-sentence report, but Drummond said that could not happen.

Her husband was uncomfortable with her living at the property while he was away a week at a time for work.

Alternative accommodation had not been found, so the options left were significant community work or imprisonment, Drummond said.

Joyce had spent six months in custody awaiting sentencing, which could be treated as time served, he said.

Crown prosecutor Daniel Flinn said he was supportive of a rehabilitative sentence.

Judge Barbara Morris said the sentence would help Joyce address any alcohol issues.

But if she ended up convicted of other arson-related matters again, she would be spending time in jail, the judge said.

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