A man with more than 150 previous convictions has been sentenced to three years and three months back in jail for a rampage in which he opened fire on strangers in Napier sports reserve Park Island two years ago.
But when the now 46-year-old Jamie Trevor McColl, of Napier, appeared in Napier District Court on Thursday it was not clear how much longer he will remain in custody.
He has been in custody since December 10, 2019, when he burgled a home of a man known to him, broke into a gun cabinet and stole six firearms and ammunition.
He then stole the man's sports car and drove to Park Island, where he stopped with a flat tyre and fired a shotgun directly at a vehicle carrying members of a family leaving a sports practice.
The family had moved to New Zealand from South Africa to escape the threat of violence and gun crime.
At the start of October McColl pleaded guilty to three charges of discharging a firearm – variously as a dangerous act, with reckless disregard for public safety, and in a public place.
He'd also admitted the charge of burgling the house in Greenmeadows, where one of the weapons was left behind after McColl had fired two shots.
The dangers were highlighted in the victim impact statements read to Judge Bridget Mackintosh, in which it was revealed a 13-year-old boy in the vehicle was praised for his alertness in spotting the gunman and telling his dad to reverse, which also put two young females on bikes out of the firing line of the shooter as he fired again.
Nearby, a Napier City Rovers training session went into lockdown as armed police tried to negotiate with McColl, who fired further shots into the air and into the ground, and told police: "Today was a good day to die."
In court, Crown prosecutor Cam Stuart suggested a starting point of five years for the judge's consideration of a sentence, while defence counsel Marie Dyhrberg QC, appearing via audio-visual link, suggested four years and nine months.
It was accepted by both that McColl had serious mental health and drugs issues, which the judge took into account as she added a few months to recognise the extent of the previous record and then discounted a total of two years recognising McColl's co-operation with police once he surrendered with his hands in the air, his eventual pleas, remorse and eventual understanding of the fear and loss-of-security impacts on those who had become embroiled in the early-evening events.
The parents of the boy told of how their family's lives had been changed forever, and the mother said she didn't rate the mental issues as an excuse, that we "could not live with ourselves" if they did nothing and McColl went on to commit even worse crime, and that he "does not deserve to be released".
The Judge accepted the degrees of remorse and other factors, and said the delays in the prosecution resulted from the legal need to prepare reports relating to the defendant's health issues and also by pandemic issues facing the courts.
McColl, who was first convicted in an adult court almost 30 years ago, in July 2009 threw a brick through a window at the home of a courts staff member.
But he escaped a lengthy prison sentence and was sentenced to seven months' home detention and had $13,000 in fines wiped, after his mother paid about $5000 in reparation relating to offences he'd committed in a drunken rage.
Apparently estranged from her son amid his problems over several years, his mum said at the time it had been a pleasure to get to know him again and that he had turned the corner.
In 2011, pleading guilty to charges of burglary and obtaining by deception, he walked from the dock muttering "sweet" after Judge Tony Adeane called him "incorrigible" and sentenced him to 42 days' imprisonment.
In mid-2018, McColl was sentenced to by visiting judge Arthur Tompkins to five months' home detention after admitting burgling longtime legal fraternity hangout the Hawke's Bay Club and using the cheques he stole to buy goods worth over $700.
In a discussion about claimed difficulty contacting a lawyer, he told the judge that day: "I deserve respect ... There's not a lot I do deserve."