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Jail for firearms offences

A Carterton gang member has been sentenced to two years in prison after police found a loaded double-barrelled sawn-off shotgun in his bedroom.

Patched Nomad gang member Samuel Joseph Trotman, 37, appeared in Masterton District Court yesterday, having admitted to two firearms offences, interfering with a car, and resisting police.

On January 23 this year he was found in the driver’s seat of a stolen Subaru, which his friend was attempting to jumpstart.

On February 8, Trotman was attending probation while his friend stood outside by his car, looking so suspicious that it attracted the attention of police, who found several knives and a .22 calibre rifle with a round in the chamber and two rounds in the magazine.

On May 28, while Trotman was on bail for the previous charges, three police officers searched his Carterton home and found the loaded sawn-off under his bedding; he resisted arrest and was taken into custody.

His partner Destiny Reriti was also charged for unlawfully possessing the shotgun because she knew about it and it was also her bedroom, although police admitted she played a secondary role in the offending.

Lawyer Andra Mobberley requested that her client, because of his addiction issues, be able to serve a home detention sentence in a residential rehabilitation programme.

She noted that he had already spent 161 days in police custody since the first offending, plus 41 days on electronically monitored bail.

Police prosecutor Seargent Daniel Scott said Trotman was a patched member of the Nomads gang and had a conviction in 2020 for possessing a loaded, modified .22 calibre pistol.

“Gang members and drugs go hand in hand. When firearms are added to that mixture, there is high risk associated with that,” Scott said.

“Whether it’s in self-defence or not, firearms can kill.”

Judge Andrew Nicholls said the starting point for the offending, given Trotman’s extensive criminal record and the fact he was already serving a community detention sentence, was three years and eight months imprisonment.

The judge referenced Trotman’s psychological assessment, which said he has ADHD, had spent his teenage years in youth justice facilities, joined gangs at a young age, and spent 10 years of his adult life in prison.

The report said he experiences chronic stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, and alcohol and drug addiction.

His cultural report described how he was neglected and abused as a child.

Judge Nicholls said now was the time for Trotman to accept responsibility for his actions.

“These are not offences which stem from spur-of-the-moment stress or emotion; you keep choosing to possess these weapons, but I can see how your life experiences have shaped that decision-making,” he said.

“You say in the report that Nomads are your whānau [family], that they have your back. They will also ensure you keep coming back to this courtroom, and I think you know that too.”

Judge Nicholls said Trotman’s difficult life circumstances and an early guilty plea allowed for a 50 per cent sentencing discount.

Trotman was sentenced to two years in prison, with permission to apply to have his sentence transferred to home detention served at a residential rehabilitation facility once that could be arranged.

Reriti was sentenced to three months of community detention for her secondary role in possessing the shotgun.

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