Revenge attack leads to jail term

December 10, 2015 | By More
File image. © Andrew Bardwell

File image. © Andrew Bardwell

A man who says he set out to teach another man a lesson by setting fire to his Woodend home and bashing him with an iron bar outside his workplace has been jailed for three years nine months.

Turi John Burns, 36, had wanted to meet his victim at a restorative justice conference but the victim declined. He would have apologised at the meeting for the harm done at the July 23 incident.

Burns explained at his pre-sentence interview with a probation officer what the incident was about, alleging it was revenge and retribution for violence towards a family member.

The incident began with a visit to the victim’s home where Burns set fire to a couch causing what Christchurch District Court Judge David Saunders described at the sentencing as “substantial damage” to the property when it spread.

He then went to the man’s Belfast workplace, armed with an iron bar, and called the man out and struck him.

That all led to charges of arson, injuring with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and threatening to kill the victim. Burns was held in custody and pleaded guilty.

Judge Saunders said: “Your motivation was that you felt this person needed to be taught a lesson.”

Defence counsel Glenn Dixon said Burns now accepted that setting fire to the couch had been intentional rather than a reckless act involving stubbing out a cigarette. He said Burns had a strong work ethic and had been working in the kitchen during his remand in custody.

Judge Saunders said he expected Burns would have to undertake rehabilitation programmes in prison to deal with alcohol dependency and violence before he was considered for release.

Burns has a history of offending, including aggravated robbery, and has now been given a first strike warning under the system that imposes heavier penalties on serious repeat offenders.

The judge said Burns was unable to offer any meaningful reparation for the damage he caused, so he made no order for payment.


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