The problem of Christopher James Taylor

August 28, 2017 | By More

The system tries hard, but it struggles to deal with the problem of Christopher James Taylor.

And there are casualties along the way.

People don’t get thanked for the help they provide.

Taylor has been the victim of abuse and he has mental health problems.

At age 45, he lives a desperate, chaotic life style.

He has no money, no home, no family, no friends, and few possessions.

He regularly loses his spectacles and his ID. That means his access to his benefit ends, and his accommodation disappears.

He resorts to offending to live, until Mental Health Services gets him back into the system.

As Christchurch District Court Judge Emma Smith said at his sentencing: “Where you sleep on any given day is in the hands of the Gods. You don’t have the resources to participate in life like the rest of us.”

Last year, Taylor faced sentencing for two charges of assault, wilful damage, and burglary.

Judge Peter Rollo took what Judge Smith described as “a rather audacious step” and decided to put him on intensive supervision since nothing else seemed to work.

The sentence failed. Taylor would not get involved in any of it and he had to be resentenced for those charges today.

In March and April this year, he was apparently missing his ID and his glasses and was caught trying to break into cars, either for shelter or perhaps to steal things.

He was then arrested for receiving a stolen cell phone worth $1000.

He was being processed at the watch house at Christchurch Central Police Station when he took exception to a young constable asking him to remove a cord that was holding his pants up.

Standard procedure, prosecutor Sergeant Kathy Pomfrett explained to the court. All cords and belts are removed at arrest.

The officer never saw the punch that knocked him down and caused a serious concussion.

The officer was off work for at least a month, suffering headaches, lethargy, struggling to concentrate.

So Taylor came before Judge Smith for sentencing on those charges as well.

She struggled to get him to keep quiet, but spoke to him about his interruptions, saying she would “pop you back in the cells” if he didn’t let her speak.

She took aboard the eloquent plea from defence counsel Vicki Walsh to look at Taylor rather than just his issues and the problems he caused. She spoke of how he was “struggling socially”.

The judge then imposed a whole series of sentences amounting to a year’s jail, which he has nearly served on remand, and he will be out soon.

That seemed lost on Taylor, who abused the judge as he was taken to the cells.

Judge Smith accepted that with grace and understanding.

Which is what Christopher James Taylor needs, along with a lot of other help.


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