Jail term despite police officer’s intervention

Police-badge-2013-09-001A troubled Amberley man has ended up with a six month jail sentence in spite of the best rehabilitation efforts of the constable he threatened.

After being threatened with a molotov cocktail attack on his house, the local policeman found 20-year-old Reece James Dick-Durham a job.

Dick Durham got a shot at home detention but it only lasted about a month before there were difficulties and Community Probation applied to have the sentence cancelled. That meant prison was the only option left.

A probation officer told the Christchurch District Court last week: “We think the wheels have fallen off the home detention sentence.”

The sentence review was granted by Judge Tony Couch yesterday, and he then sentenced Dick-Durham to a six-month jail term in place of the remains of the home detention sentence.

He refused to give him leave to substitute the sentence with home detention if a suitable address could be found. For six months after his release, Dick-Durham will have to undergo any courses or counselling his probation officer requires.

“This is to address anger management, alcohol and drug use, and offending behaviour,” said Judge Couch.

Dick-Durham was sentenced on January 17 to eight months’ home detention on charges of assault with a weapon, threatening to injure the policeman with intent to intimidate him, and possession of cannabis.

He was the survivor of a terrible crash at Woodend in May 2010 when he was a passenger in a car that was steered into the path of a bus by another passenger, Worthy Redeemed. Three people were killed in the crash.

When Dick-Durham was approached in Amberley last year about breaching a bail condition, he threatened to murder the constable and burn the officer’s house where he lives with his wife and children.

Arrested and brought to court, Dick-Durham raised the matter of the crash he had survived. He told the judge: “I’ve got post-traumatic stress disorder. I have got lots going on. I’m crying out for help but no-one’s there. That’s what it’s like for me, mate.”

Since that appearance, the officer he threatened, Constable Craig Newman, has found him a job on the construction site for a shopping centre in Amberley. When he heard from the site manager that there was a job going, he went and found Dick-Durham and his parents.

Constable Newman said: “I gave him the hard talk that this was his chance and not to stuff it up.”

Dick-Durham grabbed the chance of the job and has been working there for several months, making excellent progress.

He was sentenced in January to home detention at an uncle’s address, but Community Probation said problems arose with compliance with the sentence and Dick-Durham was charged with assault – an offence he denies.

In the meantime, he has been re-sentenced on the earlier charges and is now serving jail time.

When he was arrested again and remanded in custody two weeks ago, Dick-Durham left the courtroom downcast and shaking his head. “My life…,” he said quietly.

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