'Consummate con artist' wins shorter sentence

A "conman" sentenced to jail for dishonesty-related offending will serve a shorter sentence after a successful appeal.

Nathan John de Seymour, 24, was sentenced to two years and three months' jail in July.

Justice Panckhurst, in the High Court at Dunedin said de Seymour faced four charges, including a historic unlawful taking of a motorbike in 2008.

In another offence of unlawful taking, in December 2011, he persuaded the owner of a vehicle to let him test-drive a $12,000 car.

The car was never returned but was stored in Christchurch then taken to Queenstown, where de Seymour painted it, and removed identifying plates and registration plates. However, police found the car while it was being stripped and re-sprayed.

Court documents said de Seymour was granted bail but failed to appear and reoffended in May last year, when he advertised a portable sawmill on Trade Me that attracted a winning bid of $8000.

When the buyer turned up to the given address after paying the balance, the details proved to be false.

A District Court judge labelled de Seymour a "consummate con artist" and counted 68 previous dishonesty offences, although substantial reparation had been paid.

The High Court found reductions applied in the District Court were unprincipled and de Seymour was sentenced afresh, leaving a final sentence of 20 months' jail.

"I agree ... that the appellant is a conman," Justice Panckhurst said.

"About the only positive indicator on the horizon is the fact that he did pay a substantial amount of reparation. Otherwise, he has offended repeatedly for a significant period of time and also acted less than responsibly when, for example, released on bail."

The Southland Times