Judge: Don't lead your son astray

Judge Raoul Neave
Judge Raoul Neave

A teenager and his father were given final chances when they appeared separately before the same judge today.

Shadden Markus Dobbs, who Christchurch District Court Judge Raoul Neave said was raised on the streets, was given one last chance by a judge in an effort to sort out his chaotic life.

His father Brett was later told that if he led his son astray in future, "it would not go down well".

Shadden Dobbs, 17, will be closely monitored by the Probation Service and by Judge Neave in the months ahead. The judge will get six-weekly reports on his progress.

He warned him that if he didn't co-operate with the help arranged for him, “I'll get you back and I'll send you to prison".

"That's your options,” he told the experienced streetkid.

Shadden Dobbs was before the court in January charged with receiving earnings from an under-age girl working as a prostitute, and was sentenced to 200 hours of community work.

He didn't do the community work and pleaded guilty today to another charge of assisting a girl aged under 18 to provide sex services.

He was also being sentenced on charges of being unlawfully in a building, failing to answer bail, and breaching community work.

Judge Neave said the teenager had been effectively raised on the streets, which was a tragic state of affairs. He could understand that when one was wondering where the next meal or bed was going to be found, doing  ommunity work or other court sentences would not have a high priority.

He said Dobbs' attitude with probation had been “I don't care”.

“Maybe you don't care much about yourself because you have had very little care up to now," the judge said.

"Maybe I am doing those who raised you a disservice because they have had a struggle with their own lives.”

Judge Neave said Shadden Dobbs' life had been “a vicious circle, spiralling downwards”.

The authorities had difficulty finding him, but he now did have a place to live, and a girlfriend.

He placed Dobbs on intensive supervision for two years, but did not sentence him on most charges to leave them hanging over him.

He ordered Dobbs to undertake a health assessment as directed by probation, saying “I suspect there are mental and possibly other health issues”.

He also ordered the teenager to live and work where the probation officer directed, co-operate with efforts to get on a benefit, take assessment, counselling, treatment, or educational courses as directed, and to attend regular judicial monitoring

The judge set an effective sentencing date in December, but Dobbs would be under close monitoring in the meantime.

Later in the day, Judge Neave sentenced Dobbs' father, Brett Terrance Dobbs, on charges of being found unlawfully in a building, and breaching release conditions.

He also sentenced him to two years' intensive supervision with special conditions.

“There are few things more depressing for a judge than sentencing a father and son on the same day for the same type of offending,” he told Dobbs Sr.

“If I find you have been leading your son astray in the future, that will not go down well.”

Father and son sat together awaiting their paperwork so they could be released from the court.

The Press