Court rejects Keith Mills' bid for sentence cut

By Imran Ali

Keith John Mills, jailed in October last year for five years, has had his appeal for a cut sentence rejected by the country's second highest court.
Keith John Mills, jailed in October last year for five years, has had his appeal for a cut sentence rejected by the country's second highest court.

The country's second highest court has rejected an appeal against sentence by a Northland man who was found with almost 30g of methamphetamine, two illegal guns and $12,000 in cash.

Keith John Mills was jailed in Whangarei District Court in October last year to five years five months after being found guilty on charges of unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of methamphetamine for supply.

Near the end of his trial, he also admitted unlawful possession of a pistol.

Police, backed by the Armed Offenders Squad, went to Mills' home in Roberts West Rd, Arapohue, about 16km southeast of Dargaville, on January 29, 2014, and seized nearly 30g of methamphetamine, $12,000 cash and the firearms.

The presence of two loaded weapons, one of which was close at hand and clearly intended to be used in conjunction with the surveillance system warning of anyone approaching, made the offending very serious.
Court of Appeal judgment

The property was monitored by security cameras that could be watched from inside the house.

Mills said the methamphetamine and cash belonged to a Head Hunters gang member who had visited him.

In sentencing Mills, Judge John McDonald set a starting point of five years and nine months' imprisonment, but he reduced that by four months for mitigating factors, leaving an end sentence of five years five months' jail.

Mills argued in the Court of Appeal the end sentence was manifestly excessive because the starting point was too high, no discreet discount was given for time he spent on electronically-monitored bail, and insufficient credit was given for personal mitigating factors.

He cited two comparable cases that involved similar offending but higher amounts of methamphetamine than the amount police found at his home.

In those cases, Mills said lower starting points were adopted than he received.

But the Court of Appeal said those cases did not involve firearms which was the most notable aggravating feature in Mills' case which required an uplift of between 12 and 18 months from the starting point.

"The amount of methamphetamine is less but the presence of two loaded weapons, one of which was close at hand and clearly intended to be used in conjunction with the surveillance system warning of anyone approaching, made the offending very serious," the court said.

- Northern Advocate

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