Drug addict gets 'Golden Bay' treatment

Last updated 16:06 10/12/2013

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A Christchurch judge has allowed a 22-year-old woman to continue with alternative therapy and counselling in Golden Bay that has got her off the methadone programme ahead of her sentencing for arson.

Community Probation's pre-sentence report expressed concerns that electronic monitoring on home detention was not possible for a sentence in Golden Bay for Cheyanne Maree Crocker.

Probation was also concerned about her "attitude of entitlement", but Christchurch District Court Judge Alistair Garland noted the progress she has now made to rehabilitate herself in spite of an unpromising start.

Crocker had given an undertaking that she would go through with rehabilitation, since her guilty pleas to arson and attempted arson in March. She had admitted damaging a Christchurch City Council residential property by fire, but there had been no danger to anyone.

She had walked out of a Department of Corrections programme within hours of it starting, and also made an early exit from the St Marks programme in Blenheim.

Since then she has settled in with a family - a couple and two children - in Golden Bay where people had welcomed and supported her.

Judge Garland said she had then made remarkable progress to turn her life around, after becoming interested in alternative therapies and methods of personal development.

She had undergone therapy as a recovering drug addict, and had made the decision to wean herself off methadone, which had also succeeded.

She had become involved in the local community including taking part in a weekly craft market. These personal development and recreational activities provided a basis for her to develop "pro-social supports", said the probation officer.

Defence counsel Craig Ruane had urged intensive supervision and community work rather than imprisonment, since home detention was not available in the area. He accepted that she had a "prickly" nature in her dealings with authority.

Judge Garland agreed with that sentence, even though the offending involved a charge of arson. But he warned Crocker not to breach the sentence, and to work on her attitude.

He sentenced her to intensive supervision for two years, 400 hours of community work, and ordered her to undergo rehabilitation and counselling as directed. Some of the community work may be converted to training. Judge Garland will also monitor her progress during the sentence with regular reports.

"That's all. Good luck," he told her.

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