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Judge makes reference to ‘wake-up call’

A 26-year-old Masterton man has been discharged without conviction after he pulled a knife on a student walking home from school and made a threatening gesture.

The man pleaded guilty to two charges of threatening behaviour and possession of a knife in a public place in Masterton District Court this week.

During the incident last August, the defendant held a red kitchen knife about six inches from the victim’s face.

He then walked away before turning back to make a slitting gesture across his throat at the victim with his free hand.

Defence counsel Tom Andrews described his client’s behaviour on the day of the incident as “a cry for help”, contributed to by “the disinhibiting effect of alcohol which fed into his acting out”.

The court was told the defendant’s behaviour was such that police initially detained him under the Mental Health Act.

Andrews said that since the incident, his client had completed 30 hours of community work, participated in counselling with local service Changeability, and secured employment with his father in South Australia, “which will bring him mana and experience”.

In arguing for a discharge without conviction, Andrews said “the court can have some degree of confidence he has acknowledged his need to review his use of alcohol and is deserving of a second chance”.

Police prosecutor Miranda Barton was “disappointed” the defendant had not shown up for his final counselling session with Changeability.

While opposed in principle to a discharge without conviction, Barton recommended reparation for emotional harm be required if it was granted.

Judge Stephen Harrop said the incident was “serious, shocking, and frightening for the victim”.

“He was paralysed with fear, and the effects on him have been significant.”

In a victim impact statement read out by Judge Harrop, the victim’s mother said her son had experienced an “extreme loss of confidence in his abilities, which has affected his outgoing and confident nature, affected the family, and caused stress in the family generally”.

“The family are disappointed the defendant could be discharged without conviction and think there should be consequences for his behaviour.”

Judge Harrop acknowledged the defendant had no previous convictions and that his behaviour on the day of the incident was “out of character”.

“You pleaded guilty, and that is important as the victim did not have to relive the incident in court,” he said.

Judge Harrop also noted the defendant’s written apology to the victim.

“The words are clearly stated, and I treat that as showing you are genuinely remorseful and have some insights as to how the incident would have felt.”

Although the victim was not physically hurt in the incident, “he didn’t know that at the time”, Judge Harrop said.

“He thought you were going to cut him.

“You had the knife and presented it to him while making threats and being drunk and unpredictable.”

On balance, however, Judge Harrop considered the statutory tests for discharge without conviction had been met on both charges.

Though it was a “nasty incident with effects on the victim”, Judge Harrop said the defendant had done things to address it and that there had been no other incidents.

“I think you have suffered some consequences and had a significant wake-up call.”

The defendant was ordered to pay $100 in reparation to the victim at a rate of $10 a month.


  1. Nanny state? What a joke reparation $1.43 per Week 🙄 to the Victim. This is why crime is so high socialism is alive in New Zealand 🇳🇿. Laws protect the innocent and discourage people from offending.

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