After spending a month in custody, a Timaru arsonist has been sentenced to home detention.
Last month it took a Timaru District Court jury 2 hours to find John David McCleary guilty of destroying a directional drill worth $293,000.
McCleary, 20, was found guilty of arson and attempted arson.
His two co-accused had both pleaded guilty earlier. They were sentenced to home detention and each ordered to pay $40,000 reparation.
McCleary was remanded in custody until yesterday, when he was sentenced.
Judge Alistair Garland allowed McCleary to be released on home detention for 12 months after just under a month in custody on the proviso he pay $40,000 reparation, $10,000 of that to be paid yesterday and the rest paid off at $60 a week. He was also sentenced to 300 hours' community work.
Judge Garland asked McCleary if he had taken responsibility for his offending, which McCleary said he had. The judge said he had initially looked at a starting point of 3 years' imprisonment due to the substantial monetary loss to the victim.
However, as McCleary had expressed deep remorse and arrived in court prepared to pay $10,000, he had lowered the starting point to two years' imprisonment, which allowed him to convert the sentence to home detention "by the very narrowest of margins".
Judge Garland said that, in the early hours of August 26 last year, McCleary and two associates set alight a tractor at Timaru's CBay aquatic centre, then threw rocks at the tractor, breaking several windows.
The trio carried on to Park View Tce where they came across a horizontal directional drill being used to lay fibre-optic cable.
They set the drill alight, destroying the machine. It had a replacement value of $293,000 and $48,000 had been claimed in income replacement. Overall reparation of $120,000 was sought.
- © Fairfax NZ News