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Recent Masterton District Court sentencings

Proceedings at Masterton District Court on Wednesday included sentences handed down for crimes relating to driving offences, drugs, assault, and possession of weapons.

Cultivation and weapons

Facing charges of unlawful possession of firearms, cultivation of cannabis, and assault, Benjamin Masters was sentenced to four and a half months home detention.

Judge Tania Warburton read the long list of charges to the court in her summary before handing down a sentence of home detention after considering mitigating factors and Masters’ early guilty plea.

After establishing a potential sentence of 17 months imprisonment, Warburton explained that when an indicative prison sentence falls under two years, a judge may use their discretion to issue home detention instead.

Masters was found to be in possession of a sawn-off shotgun, a pistol, and 26 .22 calibre bullets.

Police also found and seized one small cannabis plant and 22 seedlings in a cannabis cultivation set-up at Masters’ home.

Warburton described the set-up as an “unsophisticated and small-scale cultivation”.

The judge also iterated that Masters had no legitimate reason to be in possession of any firearms.

Assault charges were in relation to an incident in which Masters had grabbed the collar of his partner’s hoodie and threatened her.

Police visited Masters’ home in relation to a complaint about this incident, and after they left, Masters grabbed the collar of her hoodie again, but this time also punched the back of her head and called her a liar.

Due to time spent on remand, Masters’ final sentence of home detention was issued with standard conditions applied and post-detention conditions applicable for six months once this period had lapsed.

He was also ordered to complete drug rehabilitation and non-violence programmes to the “satisfaction of the probation officer”.

Driving offences

After driving while disqualified and with excess breath alcohol, Jarred Hardman pleaded guilty on Wednesday and was sentenced to 18 months intensive supervision, disqualified from driving for a further six months, and required to have an alcohol interlock device fitted to his vehicle once the disqualification period is complete.

Judge Warburton noted that Hardman had two previous convictions for driving with excess breath alcohol – one from 2003 and another more recently in July 2023.

“Drink driving is a particular concern because of the risk it poses to the safety of others on the road,” Warburton said.

She also acknowledged that Hardman had already started taking steps “to address the underlying causes of his offending”.

Defence lawyer Ian Hard said Hardman had fronted up to his actions and was proactively taking positive steps toward bettering himself.

Hardman’s sentence of 18 months intensive supervision comes with special conditions to attend drug and alcohol treatment programmes and counselling services as directed by probation.

He is disqualified from driving for a further six months and will then be subject to an alcohol interlock device.

“Once the six months disqualification is completed, you will be indefinitely disqualified from driving unless you have an alcohol interlock fitted to your car,” Warburton said.

“You can apply for an alcohol interlock licence; if you do not get one, you will remain disqualified.”

After complying with an interlock licence for one year, Hardman will then be issued a zero alcohol licence for three years.

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