Gang member jailed for theft from neo-natal unit

Sonny Clarke-Aug-2013-age 23Cripps gang member Sonny Clarke says he’s sorry for stealing electronic gear from the neo-natal unit at Christchurch Women’s Hospital but he still swore at the judge when he didn’t get the sentence he wanted.

The 23-year-old (pictured) refused to be interviewed by Community Probation for his pre-sentence report while in custody on remand.

He asked the Christchurch District Court judge for a further sentence reduction from two years six months.

Told that the Parole Board would consider his release at the appropriate time, Clarke said: “They will never let me out. I have been in jail my whole life.” Then he swore at Judge Christopher Somerville as he was led to the cells.

Clarke had admitted charges of theft, shoplifting, resisting the police, breach of prison release conditions, drink-driving, interfering with a car, and failing to answer his bail.

Clarke said had written an apology letter to the hospital but Corrections officers had taken it off him.

Asked what he wanted to say about the offence, Clarke said: “I’m very sorry about that. I am ashamed of my actions and I’ll never do that again, ever.”

He had no lawyer, and wanted to speak for himself.

“Do you think my sentence will be long?” he asked the judge.

Judge Somerville nodded and asked: “How long do you think it ought to be?”

“Less than two years,” said Clarke.

Because no pre-sentence report had been possible, the judge read a report prepared for an earlier sentencing in 2012 which spoke of Clarke’s involvement in the Cripps gang, and his issues with alcohol, drugs, and gambling.

Clarke is already a serving prisoner after a September sentencing on a lot of charges in the Blenheim District Court, when he got a six-month term. The hospital theft was not known about at the time.

Judge Somerville acknowledged that Clarke had spent at least half the last eight years in prison. An attempt at intensive supervision had failed.

He said Clarke and his accomplice had gone to the hospital on August 15 and took advantage of being left alone to take electronic equipment worth $4090, which they then sold for very little.

“You disposed of equipment that was very important for this ward of the hospital,” said the judge, adding that the offence was clearly planned.

He imposed two years six months jail, and ordered Clarke to pay half the reparations.

The accomplice, Clarke’s partner 18-year-old Marama Cynthia Kaa Haika, has also pleaded guilty and is on bail for sentence on January 24.

The pair stole two laptops, an iPad, a tool kit and other items.

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