Sentencing of a father and son convicted of receiving a stolen vehicle has had to be delayed because their mutual hostility means serving a community detention sentence at the same address is out of the question.
There has already been an assault at the home in Yaldhurst where the pair live, in the hours after their Christchurch District Court trial ended, because of a disagreement over the evidence given in court.
Judge Jane Farish queried today whether they were getting on well enough to even stand together in the dock.
The pair had been sitting apart in the courtroom’s public seating before the case was called before Judge Jane Farish for their sentencing on charges of receiving a stolen Toyota Hilux at their car wrecking yard in Yaldhurst.
Mark Anthony Louis, 59, the father, had been found guilty by Judge Farish at the end of the trial in March. The judge found he had been “wilfully blind” to the activities of his son, Dean Walter Louis, 27, who had pleaded guilty during the trial.
Judge Farish asked: “Are they all right to be standing together? There seems to be still some level of discomfort between the two of them?”
Defence counsel for Dean Louis, Paul Norcross told her: “Things are civil enough between them that they can be in the same place together. They reside together still.” He explained that things had settled down.
“It’s still on-going,” said Judge Farish. “I can see it from here.”
After the trial, Dean Louis was charged with assaulting his father and ordered to come up for sentence if called upon within six months. The two had argued at home and told each other to move. Dean Louis then pushed his father over backwards and when he got up, he threw him to the ground.
The father received a sore neck, but no long-term injury.
Defence counsel Phillip Allan said Mark Louis was now on ACC – his arm was in a sling at court – after suffering a workplace injury. He said the father was not as guilty as the son in the offending, and he was assessed as a low risk of reoffending.
Pre-sentence reports have recommended community detention for the pair, but Judge Farish said that because of the dynamics it was “out of the question” that they would serve their time under curfew at the same address.
She delayed the sentencing until August 19, to allow the Probation Service to check another address for community detention for the son, Dean Louis.
It is the address of his girlfriend, where he already spends some time. However, it is the woman’s parents’ house and the permission of the parents and the girlfriend will be needed before it can be approved for community detention.
Judge Farish also told the pair to come up with money to pay for the losses of the insurance company and the owner over the vehicle. The owner had put in expensive modifications that were not covered by the insurance pay-out, and the defence is disputing the reparation being claimed.
The judge told the men: “The more money you can provide and have available to the court, the more credit I can give you for that.”
The pair remain on bail, at the same address.