An 18-year-old who can only cope in prison has got his wish - a 13-month jail term for an attempted dairy robbery.
Raymond John Belsey asked for the jail term from Christchurch District Court Judge Jane Farish at his sentencing today for his disastrous effort to rob a St Albans dairy to get the synthetic cannabis, K2.
Defence counsel Bridget Ayrey said Belsey was already institutionalised and wanted imprisonment because it was the only place he felt safe.
"He cannot cope with the busyness and chaos of Christchurch at the moment."
She said prison was the place where he felt most supported. She could understand why he was assessed as a risk of causing harm to others, but he was also a risk to himself.
"He's really lost his way," Ayrey said.
Belsey pleaded guilty to charges of offensive and disorderly behaviour, and also for the incident at the dairy where just about everything went wrong.
When he tried to buy K2 and his eftpos card didn't work, he grabbed the woman shop assistant in his effort to snatch some of the legal high herbal drugs.
In the struggle, he broke the glass top of the counter and when she screamed, her father came running from the back of the shop. They chased Belsey from the shop, and his attempt to get away on a bicycle then failed.
Judge Farish said he was addicted to the drug, and the other offending indicated his life was out of control. "It indicates your thinking and ability to live within our community is impaired."
His offending began only 18 months ago. He had been in a supported placement for some time, but when it was decided to wean him off the support he lost his accommodation, and his educational arrangements, and began living rough on the streets.
He has a history of mental health issues, with two brain injuries and two drug-related psychotic episodes.
At the moment he is discharged from the mental health system, but a social worker has written to the court suggesting that he still needs a high level of support from the community in order to make good decisions.
Judge Farish asked him directly if he wanted a jail term, and he said simply, "Yes."
She jailed him for 13 months with post-release conditions to live as directed by a probation officer, and to undertake counselling and treatment with a departmental psychologist.
He will also be assessed for alcohol and drug abuse issues.
She recommended that he undertake a short drug treatment programme that will be available to him while he does his prison sentence.
"You unfortunately got yourself addicted to K2 which is an insidious herbal drug. It is causing a lot of hardship in the city for the people who are using it and for those affected by the crimes of those using it," said the judge.
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