Court of Appeal rules in favour of home detention for burglar

By imran ali

The Court of Appeal ruled a burglar's punishment could adequately be met by adjusting the length of the home detention sentence. Photo: File.
The Court of Appeal ruled a burglar's punishment could adequately be met by adjusting the length of the home detention sentence. Photo: File.

A man sentenced to 18 months behind bars will serve out the remainder of his punishment on four months' home detention instead.

Thomas Wesley Bates appealed to the Court of Appeal which ruled home detention was appropriate for several reasons, including nine months he had spent on electronic bail.

Bates, 27, was found guilty by a jury on one charge of burglary and he pleaded guilty to one charge of possession of cannabis and another of possession of a cannabis bong.

He burgled a house in Whangarei in May last year and stole an iPhone and jewellery worth $15,000.

During sentencing, trial judge Duncan Harvey said he was concerned Bates had a previous conviction for burglary and the community had had enough of that type of offending.

Even if a suitable home detention address had been identified, the judge said he would not have sentenced Bates to home detention because the time had come for the court to send a very clear deterrent message.

"People who commit residential burglaries are going to go to prison," Judge Harvey said.

In the Court of Appeal, Bates' lawyer Aaron Dooney submitted the sentence was manifestly excessive and said the judge had not imposed the least restrictive outcome.

The Court of Appeal said Bates' offending could adequately be met by adjusting the length of the home detention sentence.

The allowance that Judge Harvey made for time spent on electronic bail was inadequate, the Court of Appeal said.

The Court of Appeal took into consideration the time Bates had served in jail and on remand and ruled four months' home detention was appropriate.

- Northern Advocate

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