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Two men have narrowly avoided prison terms over a simple trip to retrieve a tyre they claimed “spiralled out of control”.
Johnathan Robert Hill (35) and Ronald Joseph Hanson (23) both appeared before the Dunedin District Court yesterday on a slew of charges, the most serious of which was burglary of a rural Waiwera South home.
The pair reiterated in court what they told police — that they had simply gone to the property to get a tyre — but Judge John Macdonald was sceptical.
The police summary of facts suggested there was a different motivation for the visit.
There were four men in the car on September 15 last year.
The driver, who eventually was granted police diversion, had broken up a week earlier with a woman from the address and had just learned she had slept with one of the men there.
When they arrived, Hill and Hanson entered the house through a sliding door while their two associates remained outside.
Hanson accused the first man he saw in the house of sleeping with his mate’s ex-girlfriend.
Despite being told he had the wrong person, Hill punched the man in the face.
Hill then found the man he was looking for, backed him into a room and challenged him to a fight, telling him he was a member of the Mongrel Mob.
Yesterday, defence counsel Andrew Dawson said his client had no such gang connections.
Hanson, meanwhile, bundled the second man into the same bedroom.
Hill found a rifle in the corner of the room, actioned the weapon using the bolt and pointed it at one of the victims.
When one of the victims refused to move to the living room, Hanson punched him several times in the head and ribs, knocking him to the floor.
He followed it up with a stomp to the man’s face which was so forceful it left a boot imprint.
Hill pointed the loaded firearm at the now injured victim and told him he could “make him disappear”.
If the victims told anyone what had happened he would be back to “finish the job”, he said.
On the way out, Hanson found another rifle and a pump-action shotgun.
The two defendants also threatened a woman in the house as they left.
“It was one of those things that perhaps once they got there things spiralled out of control very quickly,” Mr Dawson said.
Judge Macdonald accepted that characterisation.
“It seems to me there was no great plan involved in this ... it all rather happened in a random way,” he said.
Hill was sentenced to eight months’ home detention and ordered to pay $500 reparation.
Hanson got nine months’ home detention, 300 hours’ community work and a reparation bill of $2000.
He was also banned from driving for nine months for three unrelated charges of driving while suspended.