Involvement in ‘chop shop’ brings jail term

October 11, 2016 | By More

Car-front-blueA 28-year-old man who went along with alleged offenders running a “chop shop” at his Hornby property has gone to jail for receiving 13 stolen vehicles.

Christchurch District Court Judge Stephen O’Driscoll said he was imposing a jail term rather than home detention to deter people from getting involved with stolen property.

He said it was clear that David Antony Swan was “close” to those involved in taking the vehicles that were found in October last year at his property in Springs Road.

Swan, an ACC beneficiary, had pleaded guilty to 13 charges of receiving stolen vehicles, one of theft from a vehicle, two driving while disqualified offences, giving false details to the police, and failing to answer his bail.

Another offender involved in the chop shop has receiving a sentence of supervision, and a third has pleaded not guilty and has a case review hearing this month, ahead of a trial.

Defence counsel David Stringer said Swan was a follower rather than a leader and had not initially realised what was going on at the property after giving access to others to use the sheds there. He had kept some items lying around, and disposed of them to cover unpaid rent.

Swan’s pre-sentence report recommended imprisonment. Judge O’Driscoll said Swan had tried to minimise his involvement in the comments he made in the report. Swan said he thought nothing of it at first, and never asked questions, but he accepted he had been stupid in taking two cars for payment, knowing they were stolen.

Judge O’Driscoll told him: “It would have been abundantly clear at a very early stage what was happening to the vehicles. It didn’t take too long for you to get involved in what was happening.”

The judge noted that Swan had previously served a jail term for dishonesty offending, and had also earlier breached a home detention sentence.

He jailed Swan for two years, with six months of post-detention conditions when he must attend counselling or treatment as required. He also disqualified him from driving for 15 months and ordered him to pay reparations of $7400 – the total of the excess payments that the vehicle owners had to pay.


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