Fire for heat, not to burn house, court told

Last updated 07:40 27/11/2012

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A man who broke into a house, pulled cupboard doors off and lit a fire with them did it because he was cold, Invercargill District Court was told last week.

Joseph Karl Niven, 37, appeared before Judge Michael Turner and admitted intentionally damaging part of a house, having no interest in that property, and being unlawfully in the house on September 27. He was remanded on bail until February 5 for sentence.

Prosecutor Rob Mills said police were called to the house by a neighbour, who reported suspicious behaviour such as rattling on doors. The woman knew the house was vacant.

Niven was found inside the house, where a fire in the lounge was raging out of control. When spoken to by police, he admitted lighting the fire but refused to make a statement, Mr Mills said.

Niven's lawyer, David Slater, said Niven was intoxicated and, after an argument with his partner, had decided to visit friends who lived in the house. When no-one answered the door, he opened it, went in and decided to sleep there for the night, Mr Slater said. Niven lit rubbish in the fireplace because he was cold but it was quickly used up. He took cupboard doors off and began feeding one of them into the fire while resting the other end on a plastic bucket.

Police arrived and Niven answered the door, leaving the fire unattended. The fire crept along the door and melted the bucket. The door fell to the floor and set fire to the carpet. There was no intention to cause the fire or any damage, Mr Slater said.

Theft
Melanie Marie Watt, 35, was sentenced to four months' community detention for stealing a mountainbike valued at $600 on July 1, and breaching community work on July 13, and resentenced for an intentional damage offence.

Burglary
Shaun Keith Tippett, 28, was sentenced to six months' home detention, 100 hours' community work and ordered to pay $400 reparation and emotional harm reparation for burglary on August 26.

Disorderly behaviour

Travis William Haggart, 22, was sentenced to 60 hours' community work for behaving in a disorderly manner likely to cause violence, resisting police and escaping custody on November 18.

Assault
Ricky Konrad Devery, 25, dairy worker, was sentenced to two years and eight months' jail and ordered to pay $500 emotional harm reparation for injuring with intent to injure on February 5.

Christopher William Patterson, 38, was remanded on bail to February 1 for sentence for assaulting a female and intentionally damaging a cellphone on November 11.

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Unlawfully in yard
Nichol Jayden McMurdo, 17, was remanded on bail to February 5 for sentence for being unlawfully in a yard on November 17.

Unlawfully getting into vehicle
Riki James Thomas Barratt, 18, was sentenced to 80 hours' community work for unlawfully getting into a vehicle on November 13.

Jacob William Staite, 19, was sentenced to 40 hours' community work for unlawfully getting into a vehicle on November 13.

Manuel Chae Junior Haami, 23, was sentenced to 40 hours' community work for unlawfully getting into a vehicle on November 13.

Intentional damage
Hayley Mataramari Stevens, 18, was sentenced to six months' jail for 14 offences of intentionally damaging property, four thefts, three burglaries, two breaches of intensive supervision, interfering with a vehicle and failing to answer District Court bail. All offending happened between January 3 and October 18.

She was also resentenced for burglary and assault.

Breach
Judge Walker Henry, 21, was sentenced to 40 hours' community work for twice breaching community work.

Jamie Charles Timothy Nuku Rupene-Ryan, 34, of Winton, was sentenced to 40 hours' community work for breaching community work on September 22.

Shane Antony Manuel, 20, was convicted and discharged for breaching community detention conditions on November 12.

Benjamin David Haskett, 25, was sentenced to 60 hours' community work for breaching community work on October 13.

Driving
Daniel James Douglas Kemp, 27, was sentenced to three months' community detention, 60 hours' community work, nine months' supervision, ordered to pay $108 reparation and disqualified from driving for nine months for driving dangerously, causing a loss of $8 by deception and assault on May 6.

Edward Matenga, 43, dairy worker, was remanded on bail to February 1 for sentence for driving while disqualified on September 29. The court was told it was his sixth such offence.

Sharmaine Huriana Russell, 22, of Bluff, was sentenced to 40 hours' community work and disqualified for six months for driving while suspended on November 9.

Drink-driving
Cameron Dean Manson, 22, farm worker, of Nightcaps, was sentenced to 275 hours' community work and disqualified from driving indefinitely for driving with a breath alcohol level of 845mcg on October 13.

Darrian Maxwell Rule, 18, butcher, 704mcg on November 17. Fined $650 and disqualified for six months.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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