Bad start, but Little finishes sentence

By Mike Dinsdale

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A Whangarei man who breached his home detention less than 48 hours after being sentenced has been discharged without conviction after successfully completing the court-imposed sanction with no further problems.

Stephen Little, 20, was given 10 months' home detention earlier this year after pleading guilty to a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm after he knocked out a man who shouted gang slogans, and pursued and heckled him for cigarettes and liquor in Whangarei CBD on January 25.

At his sentencing at Whangarei District Court, Little was told by Judge John McDonald that the case was "extremely unusual" because the complainant directed words at him that were intimidating, demanded alcohol and cigarettes and attempted to engage in a fight in central Whangarei.

However, the judge said Little's actions went beyond the rules surrounding self defence and sentenced him to 10 months' home detention.

But, within 48 hours Little was arrested for allegedly breaching the home-detention conditions.

In Whangarei District Court last week Little pleaded guilty to a charge of breaching home detention and his lawyer Kim Smith said Little had now completed the sentence without any more problems.

Judge Greg Davis said as Little had pleaded guilty to the charge and had completed the sentence he would grant him a discharge without conviction.

Home detention was introduced in November 2007.

Corrections describes it as the second most restrictive sentence available to the courts after imprisonment.

It is also comparatively cheaper.

The daily cost of administering a home-detention sentence is $58, compared with $249 for imprisonment.

Home detention is intended for offenders who would otherwise have received short jail sentences of two years or less. It requires an offender to remain at an approved residence at all times under electronic monitoring.

The maximum home-detention sentence is 12 months, the minimum is 14 days.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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