Protection for man leaving gang

September 1, 2016 | By More
File image. © Andrew Bardwell

File image. © Andrew Bardwell

For his own safety, a man will likely be shifted from Christchurch Men’s Prison to serve a 27-month jail term after severing his links with a gang.

The man’s partner has already had to move away from the city because of pressure from the gang.

Christchurch District Court Judge David Saunders told Mac Kenneth Gilchrist, 34, that now that he had dissociated himself from the gang he might be shifted to a jail away from Christchurch to do an intensive three-month drug and alcohol rehabilitation programme.

Gilchrist was appearing for sentence after admitting charges of demanding money with intent to steal it, and aggravated robbery.

Defence counsel Allister Davis said Gilchrist had pleaded guilty to the charges after being shifted to another Christchurch prison wing, away from the presence of the gang, to ensure his safety.

He had received numerous threats. “His partner has moved away from Christchurch because of steps taken by the gang against her.”

It was difficult to move away from the gang, particularly while he was in custody. “There seems to be a pact amongst gang members that you don’t plead guilty in any circumstances, even when there is an overwhelming case against you – you take the police right to the wire.”

Gilchrist had provide a letter of apology to the victim – the same man for each offence – though Mr Davis referred to the victim as selling cannabis to gangs.

Judge Saunders said the incident occurred in Christchurch in February when Gilchrist demanded $1000 from the victim for a debt, and two days later Gilchrist and another man approached him again about a car which the other man claimed he owned. Gilchrist forced the victim to go to The Palms to transfer ownership of the car.

Judge Saunders reduced the man’s sentence for the rehabilitation steps he had already taken in custody, his letter of apology, and for breaking his links with the gang. The apology letter would help the victim to realise that Gilchrist would not pose a threat after his release.

If Gilchrist now did an intensive rehabilitation programme, the Parole Board might soon see him as “suitable for release in another part of New Zealand where you will not be associating with the same anti-social people”.

Gilchrist had asked not to be transported to the Court House for his sentencing, and it was done by video-link from the prison.


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Category: Focus

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