A Whangarei man who admitted at the start of his trial to receiving a stolen boat and later swapping it for a motorcycle has avoided prison.
Shepherd Manjala, 31, appeared for sentencing in the Whangarei District Court yesterday on a charge of receiving and another of obtaining by deception. He was acquitted on theft as the Crown provided insufficient evidence to support the charge.
According to the police summary of facts, a boat and trailer valued at between $15,000-$18,000 was stolen from Orakei, Auckland, between November-December, 2011.
Police enquiries revealed Manjala had taken possession of the boat sometime in late November that year. In February, 2012, he swapped the boat for a motorcycle valued at $6995 after its owner listed it on Trade Me.
A few days later, Manjala and the motorcycle owner met in Papakura then travelled to Waihi with the boat to pick up the item listed on Trade Me. The motorcycle owner conducted further checks on the boat and found one of the serial numbers had been ground out and replaced with a new one.
He checked the police website and found that the boat at his home was listed as missing.
Police were informed and on March 6, a fish finder and a transducer were found at Manjala's home.
Manjala's lawyer Kelly Ellis said an address was available for him to serve his home detention but Judge McDonald said the Probation Service recommended prison.
The writer of the pre-sentence report said an address at Otangarei was deemed suitable for an electronically-monitored sentence but had concerns about the environment in the immediate area. Alcohol, illicit substances and anti social influences may impact on the management of a home detention sentence, the writer said. Ms Ellis said the Probation Service was casting the entire Otangarei area as bad which was wrong.
Prosecutor Todd Nicholls said the number and value of items stolen warranted a prison term. Manjala had 24 previous convictions, including 20 for dishonesty offending, he submitted.
Mr Nicholls said the probation report was persuasive which assessed his risk of re-offending as high.
But Ms Ellis said the report assessed Manjala as low risk of causing harm to the community and a medium risk of re-offending. He was sentenced to 10 months' home detention.By Imran Ali of the Northern Advocate