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Drugs and guns cause judge angst


Attempted headbutt of police officer after chase

The potentially lethal mix of drugs and guns is of “great concern”, a judge has told Masterton District Court on a day when the combination appeared more than once.

Judge Stephen Harrop said firearms and methamphetamine charges posed a significant risk to the community after Joseph Eddie Strange, 30, pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property, possessing a firearm without a licence, and possessing a methamphetamine pipe.

Between October 1 and 22, five firearms were stolen from a Martinborough property.

One of the firearms, a Marlin .22 calibre rifle, was located inside Strange’s vehicle when a search warrant was executed by police at his Martinborough home on November 6.

A pipe for smoking methamphetamine was also seized.

Judge Harrop said Strange, 30, was sentenced on drug charges in May.

“Something needs to be done about your relationship with methamphetamine.”

The judge said Strange had a “relatively limited” criminal record, with no dishonesty convictions within the past decade.

Across all three charges, Strange was sentenced to 125 hours community work, nine months supervision, and was ordered to undertake drug-related counselling.

Later, Carterton man James Thomas Nelson pleaded guilty to a raft of charges, including cultivating cannabis, driving dangerously, and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Electronically monitored bail was substituted for ordinary bail so Nelson, 28, could regain employment.

Lawyer Virginia Pearson said Nelson had been a “valued employee” but had lost his job after being on a 24-hour curfew.

Nelson faces seven charges relating to events occurring over three dates in October.

On October 4, he “actively avoided” a police checkpoint in Masterton.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Steven Pye said Nelson cut off another driver on High St and overtook multiple vehicles “at speed” in a 50kmh zone as he drove south.

“The defendant’s driving continued to be dangerous and erratic in the Carterton township.

“He was seen travelling at speeds estimated to be close to 100kmh on High St.”

When police caught up with Nelson at his home later that day, he appeared intoxicated, Pye said.

While being escorted to the police station, Nelson “attempted to headbutt” a constable, to whom he was also “verbally abusive and aggressive”.

He refused to allow his photograph or fingerprints to be taken at the police station and was charged with dangerous driving, refusing to give ID particulars to police, and resisting police.

On October 9, Nelson challenged a person to a fight in High St, Carterton.

The police summary said the victim was inside a vehicle, when Nelson opened the passenger door.

“The victim got out of the car and uplifted a hammer that was in the footwell.

“There was then a physical altercation between the two.”

Nelson was subsequently charged with intimidation.

He was later charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of ammunition, and cultivating cannabis as a result of a police search at his Carterton property on October 12.

About 33 cannabis seedlings and two young plants were located, as well as several .22 calibre rifle rounds.

A loaded .22 bolt action rifle was found in his ute.

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