The man who massacred eight expensive pōhutukawa trees with a chainsaw in an upmarket Auckland suburb was sentenced to a period of supervision when he appeared in Levin District Court this afternoon.
Alexei Leandios Hodder, 40, had been facing the possibility of imprisonment.
The court heard how Hodder felled the Harbourside Drive trees in Karaka on October 25 last year with a Stihl chainsaw. The chainsaw was heard getting into its work at 6.43pm.
Hodder was extremely intoxicated at the time and was challenged to chop the trees by an associate. It had been described it as a "dare gone wrong".
The summary of facts provided to the court by police at the time said Hodder was heard laughing as he severed the trees, one by one, at their base.
The native trees, just weeks from their seasonal bloom at the time, were the property of Auckland City Council and had an estimated value of $40,704.
A week later Hodder sold the chainsaw to Cash Converters for $1100. But the chainsaw was only on loan from his employer. He had been paying it off in instalments.
Hodder had pleaded guilty to charges of intentional damage and deception at earlier hearings, while he also entered a guilty plea to a separate charge of driving with excess breath alcohol while in court today.
Just weeks prior to the tree felling he was pulled over by police after being clocked driving at 119km/h near Himatangi. He returned an excess breath alcohol reading of 468mcg per millilitre of breath. The legal limit is 250mcg.
It was Hodder's fourth drink driving charge. His first was in 1998. The most recent prior to last year was 2013.
Defence lawyer Margaret Overton said due to the ill health of his father, his parents' house was no longer appropriate for home detention, and he had been unable to find another suitable option since his last appearance.
Hodder was initially remanded at an earlier hearing to allow him time to find an appropriate address for a sentence of home detention to be considered.
He had worked in forestry since he was 16, but was currently unemployed.
In sentencing Judge Stephanie Edwards gave Hodder credit for completing a restorative justice programme that involved meeting with members of the Auckland City Council and residents of Harbourside Drive.
While Auckland City Council had originally sought reparation of $40,704 for the loss of the 15-year-old trees, it revised the amount to $1000 in a written response after having met with Hodder face-to-face.
During the restorative justice programme victims were able to impress the sense of loss and anxiety they had felt as a result of the offending on Hodder.
Judge Edwards said it was important through the restorative justice programme that the victims were also able to understand that Hodder wasn't targeting them personally and that it wasn't a premeditated act, or for personal gain.
They were also able to hear Hodder's story, and understood that what happened next could have a critical effect on his life.
Judge Edwards said a condition of Hodder's four month sentence of supervision was that he not to leave his address between 7pm and 7am, seven days a week, unless he had the written permission of a probation officer.
He was also ordered to do a total of 230 hours of community service work - 150 hours for the chainsaw offending and 80 hours on the drunk driving charge.
Hodder was also ordered to pay reparation of $1000 to Environment Network Manawatū and $1100 to a Cash Converters store in South Auckland, each by a total of $50 weekly instalments.
He was also disqualified from driving for a year and one day on the charge of driving with excess breath alcohol.
Hodder would also have a chance to have his outstanding fines of $4770 relating to past driving infringements remitted in full by making an application to the court, but only once his community service had been fully completed.