A Northlander who ignited a gas torch and threatened to burn two police officers alive during a violent confrontation has successfully appealed the length of his prison sentence.
Victor Takhar appealed his four-year sentence to the High Court, saying it was manifestly excessive and advanced four grounds of appeal.
He was sentenced in June last year in the Auckland District Court after pleading guilty to charges of threatening to kill, resisting police, assault with intent to injure, refusing blood, refusing to accompany an officer, and possession of an offensive weapon.
A minimum non-parole period of two thirds of the sentence was also imposed.
Takhar admitted the summary of facts which stated a member of the public spotted him sitting in his car which was parked between the roadside and a ditch on state highway 12, near Dargaville, in May last year.
Concerned for his welfare, the member of the public stopped to check but Takhar became aggressive and threatened to kill him.
Police were called.
Two officers arrived and saw him slumped in the driver's seat.
He showed signs of recent alcohol intake and refused to undergo either a breath test or accompany the officers to Dargaville police station.
When told he was under arrest, he told the officers he would kill them and rip their eyeballs out.
After he was pepper sprayed, he picked up a propane gas torch, ignited it, and threatened to burn them alive.
He told them he would hunt them down, kill them and their families.
In his appeal, Takhar said the sentencing judge did not have a police report that contradicted some of the findings court made when he was sentenced.
The technical specifications of the gas torch, he said, showed the primary flame was one inch long in contrast to the meter-long flame referred to in the summary of facts.
Takhar said the starting point of three-and-a-half years adopted by the judge was too high and that the court failed to take into account his rehabilitative capacity.
In the High Court, Justice Simon Moore said the appropriate end sentence for Takhar was three years and two months.
He quashed an order for minimum period of imprisonment, saying Takhar's eligibility for release was likely to be influenced by the extent of his commitment to rehabilitation and addiction courses.
"If he can demonstrate he has insight into the underlying causes of his offending and evinces a sincere and realistic commitment to change, the Parole Board will not doubt regard him as a deserving candidate for release after he has served one third of his sentence," Justice Moore said.