Young offender 'failed by state'

Holding a young offender for a long jail term and releasing him without any rehabilitation was "an appalling failure on behalf of the state", a judge says.

Johnny Tahaia Brian Montgomery, 23, was sentenced and resentenced  on 27 charges by Christchurch District Court Judge Jane Farish today.

The charges included stealing cars, unlawfully getting into vehicles, unlawfully taking them, dangerous driving, receiving stolen property, breaching prison release condition and breaching community work.

The losses from his actions totalled $11,200.

The court heard that Montgomery has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which is controlled by medication.

He sometimes sold his medication and used alcohol to self-medicate, which lowered his already low impulse control.

Judge Farish noted that Mongomery had trouble keeping still in court.

He asked to add his own comments after defence counsel April Kelland had spoken.

Montgomery told the court he had been jailed for two years and six months in 2010, and because he was a high-security prisoner he received no rehabilitation.

"It did nothing for me," he said from the dock.

Judge Farish agreed.

"You didn't have any rehabilitation during that first detention. That is an appalling failure on behalf of the state," she said.

Montgomery tried a rehabilitation sentence at Odyssey House but he was discharged after getting into an argument with another resident.

He said he had expected to be sent back to prison, but he was released and went straight back to his old ways.

Judge Farish said Montgomery had an appalling start to his life, but his mental health condition was not an excuse.

He could choose to remain in the system and go back to jail or he could choose to comply with the assistance given to him. 

She jailed him for a total of three years and three months and urged him to see the Corrections Department psychologist for counselling during his sentence.

The Press