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A hired thug who agreed to bash a target so bad that he would need a wheelchair "for the rest of his life" has escaped jail.
Ian Basil Keith Magon, 36, was enlisted last July to "send a message" to a Christchurch man.
Through a text message, Magon's associate told him that he might need to use weapons, but was ordered not to kill him, just ensure he was "not walking" and to "shut him up".
Magon replied that he would "put him in a wheelchair for rest of his life", a court heard this week.
Shortly afterwards, three unknown males forced their way into the man's house.
The target wasn't there, but some other people were and were assaulted, Christchurch District Court was told on Wednesday, and some property was stolen.
"It was certainly intended to be a message," Judge Raoul Neave noted.
Magon was spoken to by police, and while he agreed that he had made plans to carry out the assault, he denied doing it.
Police charged him on one count of conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary.
A "highly suspicious" Judge Neave thought it was "an extraordinary coincidence" that Magon didn't have anything to do with the assault.
The court heard that Magon had 18 prior convictions for failing to comply with court orders or sentences, and for driving charges and escaping from custody at Rolleston prison in 2003.
He sentenced Magon, who had demonstrated to probation officers a willingness to "address his issues", to eight months' home detention.