Dope-smoking sentence dodgers jailed

By Imran Ali -
Judge John McDonald sentenced Abouzed to eight months' jail. Photo / File
Judge John McDonald sentenced Abouzed to eight months' jail. Photo / File

Khalid Abouzed and Matu Cooper chose to smoke cannabis instead of doing community work and dug themselves a deep hole while appearing before a no-nonsense judge.

Both were sent to jail by Judge John McDonald who warned that those who breached community work should not expect any sympathy from the courts.

They appeared in the Whangarei District Court this week for a review of their sentences after breaching them.

"You [Abouzed] and a large number of people like you think it's up to them when and if they do community work," Judge McDonald said.

"There are a large number of excuses dished out to judges day in, day out in Northland courts on why people can't do it. Community Corrections in Northland is to be commended for the effort it puts into getting people to do community work.''

Abouzed, 24, appeared on three breaches of community work after completing only 5 hours of the 120 hours imposed in October 2011 on two breaches and one charge of shoplifting.

"His girlfriend's father has kicked him out of the house because he's sick and tired of him lazing around and smoking cannabis. He won't have him back," the judge said.

Abouzed then interjected and said he didn't smoke cannabis anymore.

"I don't believe that," Judge McDonald replied.

He said an electronically-monitored home-based sentence, suggested by his lawyer, Melissa Russell, was hardly a punishment because all Abouzed would do was laze around, watch TV and sleep- something he'd already been doing rather than completing his community work.

The pre-sentence report recommended community detention and Ms Russell said the proposed address was suitable.

Judge McDonald said the 3.7 hours Abouzed had completed by March this year was probably the time he spent on his induction at the Community Probation office.

He managed to do another two hours in April. Despite warning letters, laying of charges and being told that he would likely end up in jail, Judge McDonald said Abouzed did not get off the couch.

He sentenced him to eight months' jail.

Cooper, 26, was sentenced to 40 hours' community work in May last year on charges of shoplifting and breach of bail. He completed only 8.25 hours.

"You're a great danger to yourself and to others because of your underlying mental condition which has been aggravated by your drinking and cannabis use," Judge McDonald said.

Since Cooper could not do community detention, home detention or community work, he sentenced him to four months in jail. "That might kick-start the road to overcome your addiction," he said.

for more articles from this region, go to

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n4 at 17 Apr 2014 23:01:36 Processing Time: 530ms