Burglar's reparation offer rejected

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 18/12/2012

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A recidivist burglar's offer to repay more than $50,000 taken in a Mokau home burglary was rejected by the judge in the New Plymouth District Court.

Blake Adam Taroa Rowe, 24, of no fixed abode, has spent months in custody after breaching his bail, and recently admitted to a rash of offending in May.

His lawyer told the court Rowe was involved in both drugs and alcohol.

His life had not been good at that time, she said.

Rowe pleaded guilty to two counts of receiving stolen property after a distinctive jewellery box, jewellery and Bonus Bonds from the Mokau burglary, as well as bankcards from a second burglary in Ridd St, New Plymouth, were found on him.

In total, the collection of jewellery was valued at $57,000.

But in sentencing, Judge Tony Adeane said the court was not entitled to order reparation for the burglary because Rowe had not pleaded guilty to burglary but to receiving.Rowe did admit to burgling the Ridd St home on May 27 and four charges of threatening a Waitara family during the following two days.

In the worst incident of intimidation, on May 29, he arrived outside their home brandishing a machete he pulled out from his sleeve, yelling he would cut their legs off.

Rowe also admitted a charge of reckless driving in Belair Ave, New Plymouth on May 24.

Driving a silver Subaru Forester at 11.50am, Rowe went around the corner at speeds estimated to be from 80kmh to 110kmh.

He passed another car on a blind corner and, while on the wrong side, hit a car attempting to pull into Belair Ave.

The other car crashed, damaging it so badly it was written off.

Rowe sped off, failing to check if the other driver was injured. Fortunately he was not, the police summary says.

Rowe's defence counsel Turitea Bolstad said at that time Blake had issues with alcohol and drugs. He accepted that did not excuse him.

"Life wasn't good for him at the time."

After his arrest he was co-operative with police. He was initially facing numerous other charges which were able to be resolved and had taken responsibility for other matters.

"This young man is trying to take responsibility for his part in the offending."

It was acknowledged that an aggravating factor were Rowe's 26 previous convictions for burglary, she said.

He was remorseful and was attempting to make positive changes in his life, Ms Bolstad said.

Judge Adeane said Rowe had a long history of criminal behaviour, most of which were burglaries.

Rowe regularly expressed his remorse "yet the offending continues", the judge said.

A life could easily have been lost as a result of Rowe's reckless driving and Rowe could have been facing a charge of culpable homicide.

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"It was pure chance that was not the outcome," Judge Adeane said.

He sentenced Rowe to 3 months in jail, the maximum sentence for that offence.

In total, Rowe received a cumulative 3-year 9-month jail sentence and was disqualified from driving for two years.

The judge said he would leave it for the Parole Board to determine if Rowe was indeed remorseful.

- Taranaki Daily News

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