Apologies continue from burglar-on-camera

July 14, 2017 | By More

A burglar-caught-on-camera has continued delivering his apologies as he admitted the offending, at a Christchurch District Court appearance.

Judge Jane Farish described Brendon James Smith’s guilty pleas as “very sensible”.

A householder filmed him leaving her Avonhead property carrying bags of her property on June 9.

He was walking to a waiting car, but when she told him she had filmed him he dropped the bags. As he was driven away, he said: “I’m sorry. I’ve left everything behind. Please forgive us.”

Smith, a 44-year-old Aranui man, pleaded guilty to burglary of the Avonhead property, and to an assault on a police officer in an earlier incident in Westport.

Defence counsel Josh Lucas said: “He disputes the circumstances of the burglary, but he accepts that he committed a theft and in doing that, he entered a yard.”

The police summary of facts says Smith went to the rear of the house where he forced the door open with a screwdriver and then searched the house, taking a laptop computer, charging cable, Go Pro, and cigarettes. He loaded the items into the householder’s empty camera bag and walked to a car nearby.

The householder returned in a car as he was leaving, and recognised the camera bag. She then filmed him, and he dropped the bags and apologised. The woman put the video on social media a few days later. Smith was found in the car the next day. He told police he had found the property in a bush.

Smith’s apologies continued when he made a statement to the court after entering his guilty pleas.

He thanked Judge Farish for her help and support through judicial monitoring as she tried to get him rehabilitation. He said his counsellor had told him that when he made mistakes or did things wrong he had to “stand up and admit it”.

He had left the Odyssey House rehabilitation programme too early, but had put himself through a six week addiction programme. With the “love and support from my partner and family” he had dissociated himself from criminal associates, but he had relapsed at Westport and got arrested.

Back in Christchurch, he had “picked up some bags that were not mine, on someone’s property”.

“I am deeply sorry to the victim for the stress I have caused,” he said. He had sold his car to pay reparation straight away.

“Media and social media has had a huge impact on my elderly parents, my partner, and my children. It has taught me some painful lessons to stop hard drugs and offending.”

He apologised to his partner.

“I have disgraced my elderly parents, and they still love me,” he said. “It is time to grow up, and be a husband, a father, and also a son.”

He asked for bail pending sentencing, and requested the judge to ask for a pre-sentence report, a drug and alcohol assessment, a home detention report, and a restorative justice meeting with the victim.

Judge Farish refused bail, saying the risk of reoffending was too high at present, but she delayed entering convictions so Smith can continue rehabilitation courses in prison until his sentencing, which is set for September 14. She asked for all the reports and assessments, including a possible restorative justice meeting report.

The woman charged with burglary for allegedly driving the car after the incident in Avonhead has pleaded not guilty and been remanded for a case review in September. She has name suppression. Smith said in court today that the woman had no knowledge of what was going on.

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