Manslaughter offender heading back to jail

File image. © Andrew Bardwell

An offender sent back from Australia after a manslaughter conviction for a Brisbane bashing now faces another jail term after a booze-addled incident at a vacant house in Wellington.

Ross Dylen Hunt, 30, is said to be back abusing drugs – probably methamphetamine, as well as alcohol – and is assessed as a high risk of reoffending.

He pleaded guilty to five charges before Judge Paul Kellar in the Christchurch District Court today.

The judge refused bail pending sentencing, telling Hunt that another prison sentence was inevitable. Hunt was jailed in New Zealand last year for four breaches of the conditions imposed under the Returning Offenders Management and Information legislation.

He had arrived back in New Zealand in May 2017, and was placed into the programme that monitors returning offenders for two years.

In 2011, Hunt was convicted by a jury of the manslaughter of a Caboolture father, Allan John Wort, 42, who was killed in a fight in northern Brisbane. Hunt had earlier been acquitted in an earlier trial of the murder of Mr Wort, but the jury had been unable to agree on a manslaughter verdict.

He was found guilty at the second trial of being party to a common cause to inflict the fatal injury.

The charges arose from an incident in 2008 when two groups argued and fought at the Centenary Lakes parkland. Mr Wort was kicked and punched as he lay on the ground and he was then dumped face down in the lake. Hunt was jailed for seven-and-a-half years.

Hunt today admitted breaching the returning offenders legislation by consuming alcohol, wilful damage, being unlawfully in a yard, breaching prison release conditions, and failing to attend court while on bail.

He was released from prison in Christchurch in January into emergency accommodation at a motel but refused to attend the doctor and WINZ appointments arranged for him, and within days he had disappeared to Wellington.

In the early hours of January 14, he was at a Wellington house that was unoccupied and being renovated.

He entered a room at the back and left his trousers and underwear inside. He then went onto a decking and smashed two windows to get into a bedroom, causing cuts to his hand and leg.

He was bashing on the front door when the police arrived. He was showing signs of recent drug use, and he tested positive for alcohol.

Judge Kellar noted he was now reported to be returning to substance abuse, probably involving methamphetamine. He had been sent back from Australia with convictions for manslaughter, possession of drugs utensils, and breaking into a pharmacy.

Community Corrections now assessed him as a very high risk of further offending and causing harm to others. He had gone to Wellington in a deliberate attempt to avoid continuing oversight by Corrections.

Judge Kellar refused bail pending the sentencing on May 8. He told Hunt: “A sentence of imprisonment is inevitable. There are unresolved issues about alcohol and drug use that heighten the risk of further offending.”

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