A rare burglary

Stuff reports:

Two Lincoln University students have admitted using a row boat to carry out the first burglary in 17 years on in the Hauraki Gulf.

The pair not only took property from the holiday home but caused $14,518 damage. …

After they apologised and paid for the losses, the burglary victim was not opposed to the pair being granted a discharge without conviction. The victim said the whole Great Barrier community had been affected, and, according to a local police constable, it was the first burglary on the island for 17 years.

Ruane and Steck’s counsel, Cindy Lee, argued that the pair should be granted the discharge because of the likely consequences on their career prospects of having a burglary conviction on their records. It might affect future travel plans.

Both were studying for degrees and were seen as a low risk of reoffending, Lee said. 

Discharges can be granted when the consequences of a conviction are out of all proportion to the gravity of the offence.

Judge Strettell said it was a serious offence — a burglary involving so much property taken and damaged. He was not satisfied the consequences were out of proportion. Although the pair took steps to right the wrongs, some offences were so serious that “they must have consequences for everyone”. 

I’m a fairly regular visit to Great Barrier Island. My favourite place in NZ to get away and unwind. And crime is almost unknown on the island as it is such a close community. Doors are rarely locked. So what these two did, will have an impact and their actions deserve consequences.

They looked around the house and then Tattersfield kicked and smashed a glass pane in a French door and reached through to unlock it. They stole significant items and caused damage by breaking bottles on the floor, pulling items off the walls, and smashing solar panels and wiring with an axe they found in a shed.

They caused $14,518 in damage, and took items worth $3560. The pair later sunk some of the gear in the sea and drank some of the alcohol.

A day after returning to the house where they were staying, they ended their holiday and drove back to Christchurch. They went to the Christchurch Central Police Station and told them what they had done. They handed over some of the stolen property.

You have to give credit for going unprompted to the Police and confessing. However I suspect that may have been motivated by the suspicion that people would work out they were responsible.

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