Drug dealer bailed after judge 'takes a chance'

By Kristin Edge

A High Court judge told Whangarei drug dealer Ike Kingi he was taking a chance on him by allowing him to complete a rehabilitation course instead of sending him straight to jail.

Kingi, 32, previously pleaded guilty to five charges of offering to supply methamphetamine, one charge of supplying methamphetamine and another of possession of cannabis for supply.

Kingi appeared in the High Court at Whangarei on Tuesday but was remanded in custody for an assessment to be completed to see if he was suitable for a residential drug rehabilitation programme before being sentenced to prison.

Originally the court was told the course was 14 weeks long and those on the course were not allowed contact with family or friends for the first six weeks.

Yesterday Kingi reappeared before the court and Justice Heath was told the course was only six weeks long and was already into the second week and scheduled to finish on November 23.

However, course assessors believed Kingi's late entry into the course would not be detrimental to his chances of making progress with rehabilitation.

"This is me taking a chance on you. You better make it work, you won't get another one," Justice Heath told Kingi as he stood in the dock.

"Good luck."

Justice Heath expressed concern about the short nature of the course but bailed Kingi to attend the rehabilitation programme in Northland, starting from 4pm yesterday, but with special conditions.

Kingi was on a 24-hour curfew to the programme address unless leaving as part of the course and then he must be under the supervision of an authorised person.

He was to comply with directions of those running the programme and fully participate in the programme.

Kingi was not to consume or possess alcohol or illicit drugs while on the programme and not to have any contact with any patched members of the Headhunter gang.

Kingi will appear in the High Court again on November 22 and if reports were good, further rehabilitation may be considered.

Justice Heath said Kingi would be sentenced on December 12.

- Northern Advocate

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