Jail for drug and shotgun offender

Court House-general2A man on bail awaiting sentencing for importing the class A drug methamphetamine then got involved in an incident where he presented a loaded sawn-off shotgun.

Christchurch District Court Judge Jane Farish described 28-year-old Ricky Aldridge’s drug importation as “not that clever”. She described his firearm offending as “foolish in the extreme”.

The shotgun incident ruled out any chance of a home detention sentence being considered and that led to Aldridge being jailed for a total of 28-and-a-half months.

Aldridge ended up back in custody after the firearms incident on September 7, and came up for sentencing today after pleading guilty to charges of importing methamphetamine, presenting a firearm, and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition. The drugs charge carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Defence counsel Elizabeth Bulger said Aldridge accepted that home detention must be ruled out. His partner, who was now staying in the North Island continued to support him. They were close and the firearms incident had arisen because he was concerned at what could be happening to her.

Judge Farish said Aldridge had a methamphetamine problem and had gone onto a website to order some that was sent to him in four parcels that arrived at Palmerston North and Christchurch. The total amount was 19.1g but the judge accepted it was for personal use rather than supply to others.

On September 7, while on bail on the drugs charge, Aldridge became involved in an altercation at a holiday park south of Christchurch, where alcohol was involved. He left the incident, but when his partner went missing he returned with a sawn-off shotgun which he loaded and cocked.

“That was highly dangerous,” said the judge. “The people involved were terrified of your actions and rang the police.”

Aldridge was found a short distance away with a shotgun cartridge in his pocket, and 23 cartridges were found nearby in a tavern carpark.

She had been given a letter from Aldridge. “Prison has been a real eye-opener for you. That’s good,” she said. She noted that he had not been present to comfort his partner at a time when she needed him, and he had missed his grandmother’s funeral while in custody.

She jailed him and suggested that he take advantage of any drug and alcohol rehabilitation courses available to him in prison.


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