Driver tried to fool police

By Cherie Taylor -
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NABBED: Nathan Thomas Namana, a suspended driver, passed himself off as his brother after fearing police would impound his car.
NABBED: Nathan Thomas Namana, a suspended driver, passed himself off as his brother after fearing police would impound his car.

Fearing police would take his car because he was a suspended driver, a man gave the officer his brother's name when he was pulled over.

Nathan Thomas Namana continued the charade right through to a court appearance and sentencing - but it fell over after his brother found out and went to police.

Back in Masterton District Court this week - under his real name - the 26-year-old Masterton horticulture labourer was sentenced to community detention.

He had pleaded guilty to charges of perverting the course of justice and failing to give his name and address to police.

Crown prosecutor Will Taffs had argued for a jail term for Namana as a deterrence sentence to denounce the offending and send a message to the community this wasn't acceptable.

"He carried on the charade," he said. "He was driving while disqualified ... the brother found out about the offending and rang police ... the starting point has to be imprisonment."

Defence lawyer James Elliott said his client accepted imprisonment as a starting point but asked the court to step back from a custodial sentence as he was supported by his family and partner, worked and was fully co-operative with police once the crime came to light.

"It will not serve Mr Namana and the community if he loses his employment as a result of sentencing."

Judge Barbara Morris told Namana the maximum sentence for giving false details to police was seven years' jail.

She said Namana was obviously anxious when stopped by police.

"You gave false details. You panicked and thought your car would be impounded so gave your brother's name ... if you had reflected on that you'd have been fine. In the days that passed you did not let the police know ... you stood in the dock and you were sentenced all in your brother's name."

While the judge said the deterrent should be imprisonment there were a lot of positive features for Namana.

"You are a young man who has managed to turn your life around. You have a partner and employment - positive influences in your life."

Judge Morris asked police why the original charges weren't laid and was told the time period had lapsed to relay charges.

She "crafted" a community-based penalty, sentencing Namana to three months' community detention with a nightly curfew between 7pm and 2am Monday to Friday and a weekend 24-hour curfew on the perverting justice charge. He was convicted and discharged on a charge of giving false details.

"You are a man with much potential, don't muck it up by making foolish criminal decisions," she told Namana.

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