Police again asked to consider diversion for autistic man

Police have been asked by a judge to consider for a third time diversion for an autistic man charged with looting.

Cornelius Arie Smith-Voorkamp, 25, has admitted burglary of a property after the February 22 earthquake, and also faces a charge of being in possession of tools for burglary.

When his case was called in Christchurch District Court today, police said they had decided to refuse diversion again.

Judge John Strettell would not accept their decision and asked them to consider it for the third time.

Defence counsel Jonathan Eaton said the report he got from police said diversion was not going to be offered because of the seriousness of the case, and the public interest in it.

He said Smith-Voorkamp had already spent a week in custody.

The building owners were astonished and extremely concerned that someone had been prosecuted for the burglary, he said.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Mikael Tuialii said police had asked for a section 38 psychiatric report but Judge Strettell said he did not feel that it was necessary.

The police diversion scheme allows an offender to avoid conviction if he or she completes agreed conditions.

 

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