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Gisborne District Court

The following people appeared in Gisborne District Court for sentencing by Judge Turitea Bolstad.

A man who pleaded guilty to careless driving and unlawful possession of a pistol had turned his life around, the court was told. He had been subject to strict bail conditions, had made positive progress, and his life was more stable than it had been at the time of his offending.

Dylan Bruce Webster, appearing via AV link from Auckland, was sentenced to nine months supervision and ordered to pay $2500 in reparation to the owner of a vehicle he had damaged.

Judge Turitea Bolstad declined to impose community work, as some time had passed since the offending and Webster had committed no further offences. He was in full-time employment as a painter and had saved $2000 towards reparation. It was acknowledged that the damage to the vehicle he had caused was not covered by insurance, leaving the owner $2500 out of pocket.

Since the offending, Webster's case had undergone a number of adjournments due to Covid-19, and he had made considerable efforts to change his personal circumstances. That included taking responsibility for his offending and undergoing a driving course.

“I really don't want to interrupt in terms of that good progress he's making,” the judge said.

Webster was ordered to make weekly payments to cover the remaining $500 of reparation.

Part of Webster's supervision conditions were that he attend counselling or other programmes as directed by his probation officer, and also to attend budgeting advice, as directed by his probation officer.

The prosecution sought an order for the firearm to be destroyed.

Tari Ao Stevenson, 26, appeared for sentence on a number of charges. His counsel, Leighvi Maynard, said the offending had mostly occurred at a time when he was living a life he described as “all over the place”, drinking alcohol, and underpinned by a level of maturity he could not cope with.

Judge Bolstead adjourned the case to March 2 to give Stevenson an opportunity to undertake an alcohol rehabilitation programme.

A young man from the East Coast should have had a firearms licence when firearms were found unsecured — and one loaded — in the rear of his vehicle. He had recently had a disagreement with his partner, but his counsel Jackie Van Schalkwyk, said when the disagreement occurred he “did the right thing and he left”.

Caleb Tukotahi Rurehe Pouwhere pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing firearms without a licence. He was ordered to come up for sentence if called upon within 12 months, meaning he has to remain offence-free for 12 months before his firearms licence application can be received.

Police told the court Pouwhere applied for a licence in 2020, but because of the assault charge he had faced in 2018 they had put its status on hold. Their question was whether he was a fit and proper person to hold a firearms licence.

“He has no history of firearms incidents, he is still a very young man, he's grown up in a hunting environment, and he is in a long-term relationship,” Ms Van Schalkwyk said.

Pouwhere had been out hunting earlier in the day with his father-in-law. Police said the offending was low-level. The judge concurred, and said he had not been driving erratically.

Ms Van Schalkwyk said her client accepted the firearm was loaded, but it was not intentional and he had now completed a course in firearm safety.

“Clearly hunting is a thing, it's what happens up there. He should have obtained a firearms licence but he didn't.”