Judge rejects 'cultural deprivation' claim

"Cultural deprivation'' was advanced as a mitigating factor in the case of a Frankton man who burgled Jamie's Jewellers in Queenstown in April.

Shane Michael Gibbs (36) admitted that offence and stealing a DVD valued at $20, property of The Warehouse, both on April 20.

Prosecuting Sergeant Ian Collin said Gibbs secreted the DVD under his jacket while in the store and then left.

Then about 10pm, he was captured on CCTV cameras outside the jewellery store, in Queenstown Central, appearing "concerned'' with a display of men's watches.

He left, changed his clothes, and returned just before midnight.

Using a hammer, he smashed the glass door, reached through it and unlatched it.

He entered the store, smashed another glass window and removed watches valued at $11,358, stole a Microsoft laptop, valued at $3680, and $150 cash from the till.

Judge John Brandts-Giesen had earlier given him a sentencing indication of 20 months in prison, which was accepted. However, on Monday his lawyer, Kirsty Allan, sought a four-month discount for "personal mitigating factors''.

She outlined Gibbs' difficult childhood and upbringing, and drug use from a young age.

He had become involved in the Killer Beez gang and had a history of mental health issues.

All his offending to date had been motivated by his need to pay for drugs to feed his habit.

Gibbs was from New Zealand, but had grown up in Australia and had few support systems here.

Judge Brandts-Giesen said despite his "cultural deprivation'' at a certain point "youth'' could not be used as an excuse.

"You are ... 36 years of age and it's high time ... you do accept that you have to become responsible for your own actions and that involves addressing issues of addiction ... making sure that you make good friends, rather than keeping bad company and that you become self-reliant and over time you build up some resilience.''

He declined to grant the four-month discount but did reduce the sentence by two months and granted leave to apply for home detention.

He was also given six months' post detention sentence and ordered to pay $1000 reparation to Jamie's Jewellers.

Gibbs was also encouraged to make the most of his homecoming to New Zealand and the support he would have in prison.

"I think you should regard your coming back to New Zealand as an opportunity ... first to come back to the country of your origin.

"In my view you will get an opportunity now, especially if you engage with alcohol and drug addiction services ... to make some progress and stay out of trouble.

"Take advantage of all the opportunities you get in prison, come out, find yourself some work and get on with life.''

Judge Brandts-Giesen granted leave for the sentence to be converted to one of nine months' home detention should a suitable address be found.