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Home detention after show of remorse

A father who strangled and head-butted his partner has narrowly escaped jail after expressing remorse and a plea for leniency from his grandfather.

Jordan Latta appeared in Masterton District Court yesterday for sentencing after being found guilty of procurement and possession of methamphetamine, assault on a person in a family relationship, impeding breathing, and wilful damage.

The offending occurred at his ex-partner’s home in January 2023 when Latta was under the influence of methamphetamine. He proceeded to punch a hole in a wall and then strangled his ex-partner for 10 seconds before head-butting her.

Their eight-month-old son was also in the house.

The sentencing hearing began with defence counsel Ian Hard arguing for home detention.

“He has come to a point that he wants this over – it has been going on for over a year. He deserves some credit for kicking his habits by himself.”

District Court Judge Barbara Morris questioned whether the requested home detention would be sufficient for the rehabilitation of the defendant.

A report presented to the court said the defendant had no issue with drugs or alcohol, which Judge Morris found surprising considering Latta’s history of offending.

“You tell me, Mr Hard – where does it say in the report that Mr Latta accepts what he has done? Prison is the only option considering the lack of remorse from the accused.”

Judge Morris said a custodial sentence seemed the most appropriate option but adjourned the hearing for two hours to allow the defence to provide further information.

“I don’t think Mr Latta understands the magnitude of the charges against him.”

When the court returned, Hard spoke to a pre-court report that the defendant had been at a dark stage of life at the time of the incident but had moved on from methamphetamine-driven offending.

He is currently working on a dairy farm with good prospects of becoming a farm manager, Hard said.

“It would be a real step back for this young man to go to prison.”

Latta’s grandfather said that his grandson had made some serious mistakes and was absolutely petrified when he was incarcerated prior to probation.

“It would be an injustice that after 14 months to send the boy inside when he will always have support from his family. We couldn’t protect him from this, but we will help him through any courses or anger management, and I have said to him that he has a little boy he is responsible for, and who he needs to be around for. He has changed his life and realises how bad this situation is.”

Latta also addressed the court, saying through tears that he suffers from ADD.

“I want to kick the cannabis and to see my son.”

Judge Morris said she accepted he was remorseful.

“You, your lawyer, and your grandfather have convinced me that you have turned this around and that I will sentence you to home detention.”

She noted the victim report stated that she wanted the defendant to be the best father he could be and wanted to see that the defendant could get help with his drug issues and his mental health.

“She shows a huge amount of compassion. To your child, you are a hero, and they will want to follow in your footsteps.”

Judge Morris said Latta’s actions in kicking meth and gaining employment spoke louder than words.

“They all show you are better than the offending that took place on January 2023.”

She sentenced Latta to six months’ community detention and 12 months intensive supervision with three-monthly reporting to the court.

Judge Morris said detention will be during weekends and at night from 8pm, which will allow Latta to work during the week with regular reporting for probation.

“You must throw yourself into drug treatment.”

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