Restorative justice sentences could repair relationships

By court reporter

It was a long day for Whanganui District Court Judge Dugald Matheson. PHOTO/ FILE
It was a long day for Whanganui District Court Judge Dugald Matheson. PHOTO/ FILE

Two people are heading for restorative justice sessions in an attempt to repair relationships they may want to maintain, Whanganui District Court Judge Dugald Matheson decided on Tuesday.

It was a court day with a long list of people to appear, including so many in custody that police were hoping some could be heard early to make room in the cells.

Court staff have come to expect long Tuesdays - Judge Matheson joked that duty solicitor Stephanie Burlace would be there all day and all night, and asked if she had brought a torch.

Two people received restorative justice sentences. One, Marshall Kahukura Taiaroa Brown, pleaded guilty to charges of common assault, possession of an offensive weapon and wilful damage.

All were against a close friend he had had since childhood, his counsel Richard Leith said. The friendship had ended six months earlier, after the friend "took advantage of Brown's partner while she was intoxicated".

There were "underlying issues that could be explored," he said. Judge Matheson allowed six weeks for the restorative justice sessions to take place, before sentencing Brown on November 1.

"I don't know how far down the line your lifelong friendship will be resolved, but let's give it a go," he said.

The other asked to try restorative justice was Keahley Jane Barker, who pleaded guilty to common assault after throwing a coffee cup at a support worker. Her counsel, Anna Brosnahan, said there was some background behind her action.

Judge Matheson said there could be benefit in repairing what could be an ongoing relationship. Baker comes back before Whanganui District Court on October 18, and will not face an added penalty.

"I just want you to go and have a chat," His Honour said.

Huatahi Robert Tawhana is in Whanganui Prison on other matters, and pleaded guilty to extra charges of giving false details, driving while forbidden and breaching community work and supervision.

Those charges were "rats and mice" compared to the other matters, counsel Anna Brosnahan said. Dealing with them meant he would leave prison with a clean slate.

Judge Matheson sentenced him to two months' prison and cancelled his remaining community work and supervision.

Also in custody was Christopher Malcolm Duane Muir, who pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to stop when required to by police and another of unlawfully taking a motor vehicle.

The charges related to an incident in Marton, lawyer Stephanie Burlace said, when Muir was in a certain "state of mind".

Judge Matheson asked for a psychological report on Muir. He is due back in court on November 30.

Jacob Kane Wirihana, 28, pleaded guilty to one charge of assaulting a female. He is to be sentenced on October 26 in Marton District Court, and Judge Matheson said an electronically monitored sentence was possible.

Okeroa Wirehana pleaded guilty to shoplifting $54-worth and then $393-worth of clothes from The Warehouse.

His counsel Harete Hipango said he put the clothes on in changing rooms, cut off the security tags and wore them out the door. He had previous dishonesty offences, including receiving, and she wasn't sure supervision would help.

Wirehana has been told not to enter the Trafalgar Centre, and will be sentenced on November 30.

"Mr Wirehana has got to realise that shops aren't fridges in the kitchen that he just opens the door and helps himself and walks out," Judge Matheson said.

Three men pleaded guilty to charges of driving while disqualified or suspended. One of them, Daine Stuart Cameron, was driving again 11 days after being sentenced to disqualification.

His counsel, Harete Hipango, said she had "stern words" with him and Judge Matheson said the ink would still have been wet on the disqualification document.

Cameron was sentenced to 100 hours of community work and disqualified from driving for 9 months.

Connor Reretai Mcgregor, 27 and a full-time butcher shop worker, was spotted driving while disqualified in Te Kuiti. His counsel Anna Brosnahan said he was returning from a trip to Auckland to see a sick uncle and took the wheel to help out his pregnant partner, who was tired.

Mcgregor was fined $400 and court costs and disqualified for six months.

Toko Turangi Russell pleaded guilty to driving while suspended, for the third time. He was sentenced to 60 hours community work and disqualified from driving for 12 months.

Four people pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol. Bernard-Thomas David Condon, a fencer at Tutira station, was driving home from a party when his breath alcohol was measured at 741mcg/litre. The legal limit for people over 20 is 250mcg. For people under 20 it's zero.

He was fined $750 and court costs, and disqualified for six months.

Allan Tua Marino, a full-time forestry worker, pleaded guilty to driving under the influence for the seventh time. His breath alcohol level was 769mcg/litre while driving in Whanganui's Victoria Ave.

He's to be sentenced on November 30, and Judge Matheson warned him prison was possible.

Mechanic Aaron John Patchett had 863mcg of alcohol per litre of breath when he was stopped in Purnell St. It was his first charge and there was no fault in his driving, duty solicitor Stephanie Burlace said.

He was fined $850 and court costs and disqualified for six months.

Zachary Johnson Hillsdon-Miles, an apprentice plumber, was also on his first charge and with no driving fault. His breath alcohol was at 580mcg/litre. He was sentenced to 40 hours community work, and disqualified for six months.

- Wanganui Chronicle

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 29 May 2017 16:11:44 Processing Time: 1182ms