A man has apologised for his outburst that led to a jury being hurriedly ushered out of court after it had found him guilty of importing methamphetamine from Mexico.
“He apologises for the way he reacted,” defence counsel Andrew McCormick said at the sentencing of Teariki Adrian Kura, 35, in the Christchurch District Court.
Trial Judge Gary McAskill then said: “It has been conveyed to me that you have apologised for your emotional reaction on the return of the verdict. I accept that apology.”
When the jury announced its verdict after less than an hour of deliberations on April 10, Kura began shouting from the dock, and a woman in the public seats joined in the shouting and advanced towards the dock before a Court Security officer restrained her.
Judge MacAskill apologised to the jury at the time, after initially having them taken out to the jury room while Kura and the woman were taken from the court. He told the jury that he agreed with its verdict.
Kura was sentenced for importing methamphetamine, a drive-off petrol theft, breach of his bail, and unlawful possession of a shotgun. He had pleaded guilty to the shotgun charge before the trial began and the jury was only told about it after delivering its verdict on the drugs charge.
Kura’s record has two aggravated injuring convictions from 2008, an aggravated robbery in 2012 which led to him being jailed for two years, and unlawfully carrying a firearm and possession of methamphetamine and amphetamine in 2014. He received an 18 month jail term for those convictions.
The trial was told that a 30g shipment of methamphetamine had been sent from Mexico in August 2016, addressed to Kura, at a Christchurch address he had recently used, and which was still used by his family. The street value was up to $36,000.
Mr McCormick said that Kura maintained he had no involvement in the importation. The defence said at the trial that it was implausible that he had imported the drug under his own name. Kura did not give evidence but denied the importation in his DVD-recorded interview with Customs officers.
In his pre-sentence reports, Kura’s offending factors were seen as his attitude of entitlement and his unstructured lifestyle. Asked about his criminal history, he said “the past is the past” and he did not regret it. He was also seen as “pro-family” and did not want his son to repeat the mistakes he had made.
Judge McAskill imposed a four-year five-month jail term.