Change of attitude by former fugitive

James Arthur Matthew William Brown-Feb2014A former fugitive says he is now committed to changing his life, and a Christchurch District Court judge has recognised his new attitude.

James Arthur Brown (pictured) spoke for himself at his sentencing, telling the court: “I am committed to change. I have got a lot of community support. I want to get on with making these changes.”

Judge Gary MacAskill said that without the change of attitude shown in 48-year-old Brown’s pre-sentence report, he would have been looking at a more serious sentence.

The court also had a report from his current employer.

The judge imposed six months of community detention with the night time curfew to be served at an Edgeware address. He will be on intensive supervision for 18 months with special conditions that he attend any drug and alcohol treatment and Stopping Violence programme as required.

Brown had pleaded guilty to charges of assault with a knife, intentional damage of a tyre, threatening to kill, breach of bail, and possession of a knife.

Brown admitted threatening to kill his partner of seven months, assaulting a man using a knife as a weapon, and damaging a tyre belonging to the same man, all arising from an incident in February. He admitted carrying a kitchen knife with an 8cm blade in a street, without reasonable excuse, when the police stopped him two months later.

After the February incident, Brown went on the run to evade police and they issued his picture as they hunted for him with a series of raids. That ended when he was allegedly run over by car and police found him in Christchurch Hospital with two broken ankles. He later appeared in court in a wheelchair with both legs in plaster.

A man was charged with reckless driving causing injury to Brown but police said the evidence in that case “evaporated”. The witness and Brown became unco-operative and the charge was dropped on July 21.

Brown is now walking again and stood in the dock to receive his community-based sentence today.

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