He's got 46 previous convictions, mainly for drug offending and now he's got another, this time for arson. But Johnathan Spear has made some progress to beat his 30-year methamphetamine addiction while inside prison awaiting sentencing.
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A man who set fire to a Bookabach in Mangakino to hide his methamphetamine cooking operation has had one year and 10 months added to his existing prison sentences.
Johnathan Spear has 46 previous convictions - many for drug offending - but was looking noticeably less "haggard" and "old" when he appeared for sentencing in the Rotorua District Court today before Judge Tony Snell.
The judge noted Spear had taken part in drug rehabilitation courses while awaiting sentencing.
"You look far more healthy now than what you did in those photos of you I saw in 2017, you seem to have lost about 15 years ... You looked much older and much more haggard ... It's a rare day that I can say that about someone who's been in prison for some time but I can certainly say that about you."
Spear was found guilty earlier this year at a trial of one count of arson relating to a fire on February 27, 2017 at a Rimu St house in Mangakino he had rented with an associate.
Judge Snell said he chose to sentence Spear on a more favourable version of events where a fire started accidentally in the kitchen but instead of alerting emergency services, he instead lit five fires throughout the house to hide his drug offending activities.
Judge Snell said Spear fled the scene to get water on his burns and didn't alert emergency services. He then drove to a river to get cooler water on his burns and stopped his co-accused from getting help.
The judge noted Spear's extensive list of previous convictions, listing the types of drug offending including possession for supply of methamphetamine, possession of utensils used to manufacture methamphetamine, possession of needles, possessions of Fantasy [gamma hydroxybutyrate] and cultivating cannabis.
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"It is somewhat alarming there are numerous firearms offences which seem to be associated with methamphetamine dealing. They seem to go hand in hand with this in the drug-dealing world."
Judge Snell said Spear was insightful about his own addiction and admitted he had a 30-year battle with methamphetamine addiction and that he had tried multiple times to get off the drug but always relapsed and resorted to crime to finance his addiction.
Spear was sentenced to one year and 10 months to be served cumulatively. He is already serving a cumulative sentence of four years' jail for prison sentences handed down for offences committed in Rotoura and Hamilton immediately before and after the fire.