Judge: Teen will pay for drill

Last updated 05:00 08/12/2012

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Students have to pay their hefty debts and so will you, a judge told a Timaru teenager sentenced to pay $40,000 reparation.

Jamie Allan MacGregor, 19, was ordered to pay the sizeable reparation and was sentenced in the Timaru District Court to nine months' home detention after setting fire to a drilling machine at Maori Park. He was in court on three charges of arson, attempted arson and intentional damage.

In the early hours of August 26, MacGregor screwed up sandpaper and put it against the tyres of a JCB tractor at Maori Park.

After several attempts to set it alight he managed to get a small fire burning. He, along with two associates, aged 17 and 19, then threw rocks at it, breaking several windows. The group then carried on to Park View Tce where they came across a horizontal directional drill being used to lay fibre optic cable. The trio set it alight by lighting the canvas and fibreglass, eventually engulfing it in flames. The machine, which had a replacement value of $293,000, was destroyed.

Counsel Wayne van Vuuren said MacGregor was remorseful.

"It's a situation of a young man not thinking ahead of possible consequences . . . but he has stood up afterwards and accepted responsibility."

Judge Joanna Maze acknowledged MacGregor spent a week working for the company that owned the tractor.

"It takes courage as a 19-year-old to front up to those men and work with them for a week."

She said that victim was now satisfied and did not seek reparation.

However, Under and Out Drilling, the owner of the horizontal directional drill, was seeking compensation.

Judge Maze said Under and Out Drilling's insurance company was likely to impose higher excesses and policy costs in the future. Under and Out Drilling, has also claimed $48,000 in lost income.

"These all flow from what was something, I suspect, was half an hour to three quarters of an hour . . . of fooling around," Judge Maze said.

She did not hesitate to impose $40,000 reparation.

"You are 19, you have employment - many of our students come out of university with debts to the tune of $30,00 to $40,000, many have more," she said.

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- The Timaru Herald

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