Threat to kill comes hours after release

A Dunedin man was only hours out of prison before threatening a woman with "the strongest punch in the world", a court has heard.

Mathew Thomas Robinson’s life has followed a pattern in recent years — brief periods of freedom interspersed with months behind bars.

The 49-year-old said his mental health was not an issue and counsel Rhona Daysh told the Dunedin District Court yesterday he did not meet the threshold for compulsory treatment.

"Mr Robinson has an addiction to alcohol and that’s his nemesis," she said.

After his most recent jail term — incurred for swigging wine from supermarket shelves — the defendant was released from the Otago Corrections Facility on May 4 and driven to town by Corrections staff.

A short distance from his release address, the man asked for the vehicle to be stopped and, because he was no longer subject to any conditions restricting his liberty, he was allowed to walk away.

Police said Robinson almost immediately began drinking and arrived at Dunedin Central Police Station that afternoon "ranting and raving".

That was not enough for him to be locked up, but his behaviour two days later was.

The court heard Robinson turned up at Dunedin Hospital early on May 6 complaining about "a medical event" that occurred the previous evening.

He was abusive and yelled at nursing staff, as well as making threats to security personnel.

When Robinson was discharged he was informed by staff he had to leave.

"The defendant told the victim that he would kill her with one punch as he had the strongest punch in the world," a police summary said.

Robinson warned the woman to get away from him or he would "put her in a coffin".

The victim called the police, who escorted him off the premises.

The respite was brief.

Just a couple of hours later, officers were called to the central library after Robinson was verbally abusive to members of the public.

And he continued to "yell and scream" while being hauled away, the court heard.

Ms Daysh said prison was no punishment to her client.

"It holds no fear or any promise of change ... It’s just comfort and security there," she said.

"[The offending was] a public nuisance and a cry for help more than anything else."

She suggested imposing a deferred sentence, which would mean Robinson — who had spent the previous two weeks behind bars — would be released immediately.

But Judge Dominic Flatley said the defendant’s criminal history was too extensive for that approach.

He jailed Robinson for two months, meaning Robinson will serve another fortnight before being freed again.



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