Offender’s violence a mystery at sentencing

File image. © Andrew Bardwell

A second strike offender faces serving all of an eight-year six-month jail term imposed for a string of violent incidents that left his victims cut and bruised.

The reasons for Harley Ihaka Timothy’s violent reactions – even to people he loves – remain a mystery, according to his defence counsel Margaret Sewell.

“He is quite mystified as to why he acts like he does,” she told Judge Jane Farish at Timothy’s Christchurch District Court sentencing.

People who dealt with him could not understand why he became so extremely violent, when he was so gentle and extremely polite at other times, she said. He had suffered as a neglected child and had been in a “criminal situation” from early in life.

Judge Farish said she would order that the psychiatric report prepared for the sentencing should be made available to the prison authorities, so that he could continue to be monitored. She urged him to take any rehabilitation treatment made available to him in prison.

She noted that Timothy, aged 25, was now worried that he was becoming mentally unwell.

She said that without psychiatric intervention he was likely to face life under an extended supervision order when he was released, or an open-ended preventive detention sentence if he offended again.

He had received a first strike warning in 2011, and the second strike warning given today meant he must serve his whole prison sentence without parole.

Timothy had admitted charges of aggravated robbery, wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, wounding with reckless disregard for safety, assault, and assault on a prison officer.

Timothy and another alleged offender – who is still to stand trial – went to a rural property at Oxford looking for someone on a night in June 2015. The man they wanted was not there because it was the wrong house, but Timothy took a television anyway, and admitted that he had punched and kicked the male resident within view of his partner. Stolen items were returned.

After drinking at a gathering in Temuka, Timothy became aggressive when he was woken up. He took a knife and his brother and cousin were injured when they tried to disarm him.

His brother was slashed on the face and hand, needing 27 stitches, and his cousin was slashed on the chest, injuring a lung and nicking his heart. “He was very fortunate he didn’t die,” said Judge Farish. The cousin still had breathing problems, and regular nightmares.

The judge said: “Your brother, your cousin, and you, have no idea why you reacted so violently towards them.” She accepted his remorse and his apology to them was sincere.

He later committed another assault, and also punched a prison officer in the face when he became aggressive during a cell search.

Timothy had a “dismal history of violent offending”. In these incidents, it had been serious, gratuitous, and unprovoked.

She reduced his jail term for his remorse and his guilty pleas, and imposed a series of concurrent jail terms totalling eight years six months.

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