A judge has questioned the justice of Australia’s policy of deporting offenders when a 22-year-old rapidly got himself into more trouble after being returned to New Zealand.
Christchurch District Court Judge Raoul Neave said he “had to wonder about the overall justice of the Australian policy” but it was outside his jurisdiction and it was not appropriate to make further comment.
He said he imagined the deportation had left Koronui Teaurere, of Rangiora, “rather adrift” while he tried to rebuild his life far from his family and friends.
Teaurere did not have a lengthy history of offending in Australia, and appeared to have got in trouble because of his drug and alcohol issues.
“That has had the unfortunate consequence at the age of 22, of you being deported from Australia, and now being subject to the Returning Offenders Management Scheme,” said the judge.
The deportation had had a “catastrophic” effect on his life.
“The isolation that must have resulted from the separation from loved ones in Austraia is not something that is going to be easily got over, although it doesn’t justify your offending,” he said.
Taeurere had admitted the burglary of a house in Burwood in September, along with two other offenders, and unlawfully being in an enclosed yard as he made his escape.
He also admitted a theft of a pack from a St John ambulance. Judge Neave said that was a “particularly nasty” theft because of the work the emergency services did. The pack worth $500 had been recovered but the contents could not be used because it could not be guaranteed they were sterile.
Defence counsel Philip Watts said the pre-sentence report assessed Teaurere as a high risk of reoffending, but it also noted his remorse and his willingness to undergo rehabilitation.
There were reservations about a home detention sentence because his breaches of bail had led to him being remanded in custody for more than two weeks. The time in custody was likely to be a significant factor in discouraging him from breaching home detention.
Judge Neave said the three men had entered a Burwood house on September 24, and had stolen a handbag and car keys. The victim saw them leaving and began chasing them.
Teaurere jumped a fence into a neighbouring property where he tried to get away on a bicycle he found leaning against the garage. That householder stopped him doing that, too, and he ran away.
Judge Neave reduced his sentence for his youth, his willingness to attend a restorative justice conference, his rehabilitation prospects, and his guilty pleas.
He imposed eight months of home detention at his brother’s address in Rangiora, with an additional six months of special conditions. He ordered him to pay $500 for the ruined St John ambulance gear.