Woman knocked out during raid on optician

Home detention has been allowed for a drug addict who knocked a woman shop assistant unconscious when he pushed her over during a raid on a central Christchurch optician.

Christchurch District Court Judge Tony Couch said he decided to grant home detention after hearing that Shann Emerson Seinafo, 34, had already been in custody for six weeks while on remand, and had been on restrictive electronic bail conditions for 14 months.

But he told the reformed addict: “I accept you didn’t mean to harm the woman, but you did mean to push her out of the way, and you must take responsibility for the consequences.”

Defence counsel Derick Lotz urged the judge to follow the probation recommendation for intensive supervision with Seinafo staying with his sister who was a good, pro-social influence on him. He had been drug-free for 14 months while on electronic bail.

Judge Couch said Seinafo had failed to comply with his prison release conditions after being released in November 2017, and faced three breach charges.

On April 2, 2018, he went into a city optician’s shop and looked at a sunglasses display for a time, before grabbing eight pairs worth $1820 and trying to leave the shop.

A woman shop assistant tried to stop him leaving but he pushed her out of the way, causing her to fall and hit her head. She was knocked unconscious. He also broke a glass door as he left, causing $3000 damage. He was found guilty at trial of theft and assault with intent to escape after a crime.

He stole 12 pairs of jeans worth $2000 from a city department store, and some pairs were found in a car when police stopped him on April 16. Police found a metal bar – an offensive weapon – in the car, as well as cannabis, methamphetamine, drugs utensils, and ammunition.

Judge Couch said the thefts had been carried out to support Seinafo’s drug addiction. He had a long history of convictions for big thefts from shops.

He accepted Seinafo was remorseful and wished the injury to the woman shop assistant had not happened.

He imposed eight months of home detention, with special conditions to last six months after the end of the sentence and ordered Seinafo to pay reparations totalling $6713.