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Light sentence ‘a chance to learn’

A 21-year-old man has received community work and supervision after he turned up at someone’s house with his mother to demand money and threaten the victim over an alleged outstanding debt.

Nation Snowdon Mita-Waata pleaded guilty to speaking threateningly in Masterton District Court this week after an additional burglary charge was dropped.

In what Judge Stephen Harrop described as “a serious and scary incident”, Nation Snowdon Mita-Waata visited the victim’s home in Masterton on July 23 to recover money he understood she owed a third party.

“You went on a mission, directed by your mother, to attack the victim’s vehicle,” Harrop said.

During the course of the incident, Snowdon Mita-Waata kicked through a plywood panel on the victim’s house door, demanded the keys to her car, and shouted, “I’m going to f–k you up”.

Harrop noted that Snowdon Mita-Waata’s threats of violence continued while the victim waited for police to arrive.

“If the victim did owe money, it was not to you, and this is not an acceptable way to recover a debt anyway,” Harrop said.

Harrop said the victim no longer feels safe in her home.

“Because you and your mother know where she lives, and she worries about what would have happened if you’d got in,” Harrop said.

“She thought you would assault her, and I understand why.”

Defence counsel James Elliot said his client “accepted this was a frightening incident and has expressed his regret”.

“He pleaded guilty promptly, complied with bail conditions, and has been out of trouble since July.”

In asking for a community work sentence, Elliot referred to Snowdon Mita-Waata’s “good work controlling his anger” since the incident, the fact that he had not entered Masterton since his arrest and that he had recently become a father.

Judge Harrop acknowledged that Snowdon Mita-Waata had stayed out of trouble since the offending and “would learn from this”.

“You’re only 21 and deserve an opportunity to learn from all this, so a lenient approach is required.”

Harrop warned the defendant that if he did not comply with the conditions of his supervision order, it “could result in a short prison sentence”.

He sentenced Snowdon Mita-Waata to 100 hours of community service and nine months of supervision.

Harrop also ordered Snowdon Mita-Waata to pay the victim back $150 at a rate of $10 a week, “not for the door, but the effects on her of this frightening incident”.

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