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Protection order breach earns prison term

A “committed gang member” with a “significant history of violence” who pleaded guilty to breaching a protection order and wilful damage was sentenced to seven and half months in prison at Masterton District Court this week.

The court heard that on February 10 this year, Luke Belmont visited the home of the victim and got into an argument with her.

When the victim asked him to leave, he refused.

When the victim tried to leave, Belmont took her car keys, then took her mobile phone from her pocket and broke it.

Belmont eventually left the victim’s home.

This was the defendant’s second breach of a protection order involving the same victim.

The first was committed in 2019 when, while he was in prison, Belmont made “multiple calls” to the victim.

Belmont’s defence counsel told Judge Noel Sainsbury his client “regrets what happened” and noted that, while “upsetting”, neither breach had involved violence.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Scott, however, described the most recent breach as “a step up” in behaviour towards the victim.

“A protection order means what it says – you have to comply,” Judge Sainsbury told Belmont. “When she says you should leave, you should leave.”

“You have a history of breaching protection orders against this victim, you have quite a significant history of violence, and you are a senior member of the Mongrel Mob.

“There was an element of menace in your behaviour,” he said, while noting that the fact the situation “didn’t escalate is to your credit”.

Taking Belmont’s early guilty plea into account, Judge Sainsbury sentenced him to seven and half months in prison, with a requirement to attend a non-violence course and not to contact the victim without the written approval of a probation office.

Belmont was also ordered to pay $1640 in reparation to the victim for the damaged cell phone.

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