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Court Told Of Offender's Childhood Drug Addiction

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Christchurch, March 5 NZPA - At the age of 32, South Canterbury man Brent Trevor Hartley has been struggling with drug addiction for 20 years.

But today, after a sentencing for the attempted robbery of a dairy, he has a future for the first time in his life.

That future will include the difficulties posed by the hepatitis C his addiction has given him.

And for the next eight months it will involve home detention at his home in Pareora, south of Timaru.

But it also includes likely home ownership and a long-term relationship with a partner who will tolerate no drug use, and who was there with a kiss and a hug when he was allowed to step out of the dock today.

The couple hope to marry in the spring.

Hartley was so wasted on drugs he had no memory of trying to rob a Christchurch dairy on November 5, 2005.

He went in wearing sunglasses and a sweatshirt with a hooded top, and he held a metal replica pistol.

He pointed the imitation gun at the woman shop-owner and said he would shoot her if she did not hand over money.

The plucky shop-owner, now aged 60, didn't hand over the cash, but set off an alarm and sent Hartley running from the shop.

He shed his sweatshirt as he left and the police used DNA on the discarded clothing to link him to the robbery.

Only recently, when the test results came back, did Hartley accept that he was the robber and he pleaded guilty to the attempted robbery charge.

Crown prosecutor Sara Jamieson said she was concerned that the pre-sentence report still regarded Hartley as a high risk of reoffending.

Defence counsel Steve Hembrow said that Hartley had something going in his life for the first time.

He and his partner had been friends since they were teenagers. She knew all about him and had no unrealistic expectations, but she would not tolerate him using drugs.

Judge Farish said Hartley's previous offending was mainly drug-related, including a burglary in 2007.

The shop-owner had felt paranoid and distrustful since the attempted robbery and still felt suspicious of people more than two years later. She had sold her shop a year after the incident.

She said Hartley had been struggling to control his addiction since he became involved with drugs at age 12. His health had suffered and he was now under treatment for depression and anxiety.

He has now qualified as a deckhand and according to Mr Hembrow he hoped to get work in the fishing industry in Timaru.

Judge Farish released him on home detention for eight months, with conditions that he not use or possess alcohol or illicit drugs and undertake counselling and treatment as directed.

She also imposed judicial monitoring so she will receive regular reports on his progress.

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