Judge slams ‘woeful’ rehab resourcing

May 19, 2017 | By More

A judge has slammed Canterbury’s inadequate resourcing for drug and alcohol assessments, when a report was declined for a 17-year-old who appeared before her for sentencing in the Christchurch District Court.

Judge Jane Farish said Canterbury had “woeful resources”, and even if people were in custody, assessments took three and a half months’ to complete, which was totally unacceptable. In Auckland, reports took three weeks, she said.

Rahiri Tai had a very serious alcohol problem, and could not remember any of his offending, she said.

Defence counsel Ruth Harcourt said the drug and alcohol assessment request was declined by the Probation Department because there was not enough time to do it before Tai’s sentencing.

She said Tai had done courses while he was in prison, but a proposed home detention address was not suitable.

Judge Farish said on January 8 Tai stole three bottles of alcohol from Riccarton Liquorland.

On January 9, he approached two tourists in a motel car park, assaulted the man and demanded the car keys. A woman intervened and was punched and kicked. They gave him the keys, and while he was over the legal limit and recently disqualified, Tai drove dangerously down Riccarton Road and crashed at the Sockburn roundabout. He was taken to hospital, and released on bail when he appeared in court.

On February 20, in the central city and drunk again, he assaulted a person whose fence he was headbutting, assaulted another person, and then assaulted another man who spent a night in hospital with concussion.

Altogether Tai caused $18,000 damage, with no ability to pay any of it.

Judge Farish said his actions had significant impact on the tourists who had only recently arrived in Christchurch.

She sentenced Tai to 20 months’ prison, and disqualified him for a further six months when his previous disqualification runs out in June.

She granted him leave to apply for home detention if a suitable address could be found.

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