He has a reputation as an old prankster, but Greytown resident David James Taylor admits he went too far when he claimed to ANZ bank staff in Masterton he was carrying a bomb.
Appearing for sentencing in the Masterton District Court on Tuesday, after admitting a charge of threatening to cause grievous bodily harm, the 76-year-old retiree was sentenced to 90 hours of community work.
He threatened staff at the bank with what appeared to be an explosive device last December.
Defence lawyer JP Delamere told Judge Peter Hobbs that his client was “embarrassed” to be there and “very remorseful”.
Delamere said the offending happened after a longstanding dispute with the bank over $2000 owed to Taylor, who grew frustrated by the lack of action.
“A small amount to the bank, a large amount to Mr Taylor,” he said.
Shortly before 3pm on December 12 last year, Taylor entered the Masterton ANZ branch on the corner of Chapel St and Lincoln Rd.
He carried with him a green duffel bag containing an orange cylinder set up to look like an explosive device.
Taylor told bank staff he had a handheld control – his hearing aid remote – with which he could set off the bomb.
The dispute has since been resolved with the bank acknowledging payment was due.
Delamere said Taylor had “made a mountain out of a mole hill” and repeatedly said it was a “stupid decision”.
Both prosecution and the defendant had sought to resolve the matter through restorative justice, but the bank had been unwilling to do so.
Delamere told Judge Hobbs that Taylor had been under self-imposed home detention for the past six months, having misunderstood his release conditions.
“I am confident that we won’t see Mr Taylor here again,” Delamere said.
During sentencing, Judge Hobbs said he understood the background to Taylor’s frustrations.
“This didn’t happen in a vacuum.”
However, he acknowledged the seriousness of the situation and the offending against the community.
“Your actions have had a negative impact on people in the bank at the time. Those at the bank were shocked and frightened by your actions. The bank took it very seriously.”
He said his sentencing options were limited owing to Taylor’s age and health issues but considered his early guilty plea and remorse for the offending.
Judge Hobbs sentenced Taylor to 90 hours of community work to be done through an agency placement.