Prisoner lied about mother's death

ANNE CLARKSON
Last updated 16:53 11/10/2012

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A man who made up the excuse that his mother had died to get out of jail to attend her funeral was sentenced to 29 months' prison today.

Dominic Jossy Grace, 22, was sentenced on three charges of assaulting a woman, one of wilful damage, escaping from custody by using the dead-mother excuse, breach of community work and failing to attend court.

Judge Brooke Gibson said Grace arrived drunk at his former address and verbally abused his flatmates. His former partner intervened and he punched her.

On August 3, he assaulted her again.

On August 11, he assaulted her while she was asleep in bed with another person. She woke when he was punching her in the face.

He threw a brick through the front door at her address, and then cut himself on the glass.

Grace was remanded in custody but persuaded a prison guard that he was upset as he had just been told his mother had died.

He was allowed to use an unmonitored phone, so phoned his aunt to say there had been a death on his mother's side of the family, and to confirm it if anyone phoned her.

He told his lawyer his mother had died, and gave the aunt's contact address for confirmation.

His lawyer sought compassionate leave for the funeral, which was granted. Grace did not return to the prison as arranged and was arrested 10 days later.

Judge Gibson said Grace's pre-sentence report said he had previous convictions for assaults, and the offending was getting more serious and violent.

He said the court had been deliberately misled, the prison authorities were misled and his lawyer was put in the position where he misrepresented the situation in court.

He said the offending was premeditated, and Grace had put at risk genuine applications by prisoners.

Defence counsel Peter Doody said at the Christchurch District Court sentencing that Grace needed assistance with his violence and getting his life together.

He said Grace had an inability to cope when things became difficult for him, and alcohol played a part in his offending.

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- The Press

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