Night intruder sentenced, three years on

More than three years of careful work have gone into a difficult sentence for a night-time intruder with a deteriorating mental state.

Eli Wiremu Williams will have to do community work but he will do it on a marae where he has support rather than in a work gang with other offenders.

In the psychiatric reports prepared over the years of assessments and discussions, the 24-year-old is assessed as being “easily influenced”.

In imposing 150 hours of community work, Christchurch District Court Judge Jane Farish recommended that Community Probation get him to serve the hours at a rural marae near where he lives, and where he has worked before.

“It will be a safe environment for you, given your background,” she told Williams. “It will be good for you to be amongst whanau.”

Williams was arrested after the incident which took place near Oxford, about 4am on June 28, 2015.

The two residents were asleep on a rural farm property when they were woken by Williams, and Harley Ihaka Tomothy, 27, entering the house without permission.

The intruders demanded to know where a named man lived, but they were at the wrong place and were told the leave.

They did appear to leave but a few minutes later the man who lived there found Timothy walking out of the lounge door carrying a 42-inch television.

He confronted Timothy who punched him in the face. The man ran to the bedroom for safety, but Timothy and Williams pushed their way in and attacked him with kicks and punches.

They left with property worth up to $5000 but it was almost all returned next day. The victim received a broken nose, tenderness to the face, and concussion.

For this aggravated robbery and other violent incidents, Timothy was jailed last year for eight years six months. He was a second strike offender and is having to serve all the sentence. Judge Farish said: “I note that (Timothy) is now quite unwell in terms of his own mental health.”

Defence counsel Margaret Sewell said the Crown had agreed to reduce Williams’ aggravated robbery charge to an aggravated assault and he then pleaded guilty. She hoped that he could be placed on intensive supervision, with a drug and alcohol treatment programme, and anger management counselling.

Judge Farish said the reduced charge reflected Williams’ involvement because he was not aware that a robbery was going to take place. However, he had joined in the violence that had inflicted serious injuries.

He had not been in any trouble since the incident more than three years ago, and reports from a psychiatrist and psychologist had been prepared during the remand. Questions were raised about his level of cognitive functioning and an apparent deterioration in his overall mental health.

She imposed 150 hours of community work at the marae, and a year of intensive supervision with an order that he be assessed for drug and alcohol treatment, and undertake any other counselling that probation directs.

She told Miss Sewell and Crown prosecutor Pip Currie: “I am grateful to counsel. I think that has been a very sensible outcome given the difficulties with this file.”