Apologetic ram raider gets a chance at rehab

Teenage ram-raider Jordan Lee Duncan flies to Auckland on Thursday with hopes for an end to his synthetic cannabis addiction and the best wishes of at least one of his victims.

The 17-year-old was given a chance for a new start at his Christchurch District Court sentencing.

He met his victims at five restorative justice meetings ahead of the sentencing by Judge Brian Callaghan.

The victims got apologies from him, but they won’t get any money for the nearly $9000 owed in reparations.

One woman whose car was taken was in court and shook his hand after the sentencing, when Duncan was released from custody after being held since the raids in June.

Duncan was to spend Wednesday night at a specified address in Christchurch and then fly to Auckland on Thursday morning, escorted by a minder, to be met at the airport and taken to the Odyssey Auckland rehabilitation centre.

He will stay there for nine months on home detention, with an additional six months of post-release conditions to complete the course if necessary.

Duncan admitted two ram-raids, unlawfully taking three cars, interfering with a car, thefts, dangerous driving, failing to stop for the police, and breaching his bail.

By the time of the incident on the night of June 21 to 22, Duncan was seen as having what Judge Callaghan described as “a severe and long term addiction to synthetic cannabis”.

The addiction drove his offending, which was carried out with four other offenders who were younger and were dealt with in the Youth Court jurisdiction.

The group met at the Z Energy service station in the Main North Road, Waikuku, where they did a ram-raid. They crashed a car through the doors but left with only snacks when the building’s fog cannon went off, stopping them seeing anything.

The group then headed for a liquor outlet in Burwood where they tried to do another ram-raid but were defeated by wine barrels placed outside the building.

They were on their way to carry out a third raid when the police intervened. Duncan sped off and drove dangerously. The car was found in Edgeware and a police dog unit found the five offenders nearby.

Duncan’s remand in custody since June had been “an enforced opportunity to detox”, said the judge.

Defence counsel April Kelland urged Judge Callaghan to go along with the plan to send Duncan to rehabilitation in Auckland. The judge acknowledged a lot of effort had gone on in the background to put the Odyssey plan together.

He imposed the home detention sentence but said reparation prospects were “forlorn” because Duncan had no job and no assets. He would be in rehabilitation for a year or even longer.

He told Duncan: “This is your opportunity, and you have been given a considerable amount of leniency. I hope you make a good fist of this.”

“Yes, Your Honour,” Duncan replied from the dock.


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