Convicted killer Daryl Kirk's home detention stands despite cannabis breach

Daryl Kirk in court on the day she learned the jury's verdict that she was guilty of the manslaughter of Adam Watkins.
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

Daryl Kirk in court on the day she learned the jury's verdict that she was guilty of the manslaughter of Adam Watkins.

It looked as if it was going to be, "Like mother, like daughter", for the Kirk women.

Both sentenced to home detention in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of Adam Watkins two years ago, both breaching the sentence.

Aged 19, daughter Daryl Kirk had pulled the trigger and killed Watkins, her mother's partner.

Daryl Kirk's mother, Kelly Kirk, had her own problems on home detention and ended up serving a jail term..
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

Daryl Kirk's mother, Kelly Kirk, had her own problems on home detention and ended up serving a jail term..

Kelly Kirk moved evidence afterwards, trying to help her daughter.

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Kelly Kirk had gone to prison after a judge said she repeatedly failed to comply with the terms of her eight months' home detention sentence for attempting to pervert the course of evidence. She was sentenced to seven months' jail.

Daryl Kirk was sentenced on June 10, 2016, to 12 months' home detention for the manslaughter of Watkins in the Hutt Valley on February 5, 2015. One of the terms of the sentence was that she was not to possess or use illicit drugs.

Now 21, she was living with her boyfriend Kyle Barnden in Masterton on December 15, 2016, when the police arrived with a search warrant and found five cannabis plants in a bedroom.

Barnden has since pleaded guilty to possessing them. Kirk has pleaded not guilty and the case has yet to be heard.

The find was enough for the Department of Corrections to ask the High Court to cancel the home detention sentence and send Kirk to prison instead.

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On Friday, Daryl Kirk gave evidence to the same judge who had heard her trial. Kirk said she had not seen the cannabis but knew it had been brought to the house the day before the police visit. She had spoken to Barnden about it and it was to be taken away, she said.

"They were only there for a day. They would have been gone otherwise," she told Justice Karen Clark.

Asked whether she thought about phoning police or her probation officer, Kirk said she didn't want to go to jail. She also said it would have made it "pretty bad" in her relationship with Barnden.

During cross-examination, she agreed she had been lucky to get home detention for manslaughter, and that she had to take the sentence seriously.

The judge said Kirk had breached her home detention condition but accepted that her sense of powerlessness was real, especially given the central place that Barnden had in her life.

Kirk had been complying with the sentence in other respects and it was disappointing that Barnden had created the difficulty for her. 

But Kirk had shown she had strength and character in giving evidence in court, and realised there could be no further breaches, the judge said.

On the charge of breaching home detention, Kirk was convicted and discharged, and the sentence itself would continue.

The judge said she had originally imposed home detention to recognise Kirk's relative youth and capacity for rehabilitation, and reduced blame because she had been a victim of family violence. 

 - Stuff

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