Part of sentence quashed on appeal

A man who drove his vehicle at a court bailiff who was trying to seize his car has had his disqualification from driving sentence, quashed.

Justice Rachel Dunningham has overturned the disqualification of Tasman James Ryan who was sentenced to two months’ jail (cumulative on a sentence he was already serving) and six months’ disqualification by Judge John Brandts-Giesen after Ryan, in the Invercargill District Court on May 14, this year, pleaded guilty to a charge of threatening to injure.

The appeal decision released last week, reveals the court bailiff went to Ryan’s home on August 31, 2020, to seize the car after a warrant was issued.

Ryan arrived shortly after the bailiff reached the property and began yelling at the victim in an aggressive manner before getting out of his vehicle.

The bailiff then informed Ryan he was there to seize the car.

Ryan advanced towards the victim, taking his sunglasses off and clenching his fists.

Fearing for his safety, the bailiff activated his safety alarm.

"Mr Ryan then returned to his vehicle, reversed, and then drove it towards the victim, narrowly missing him," the decision says.

Ryan’s appeal was for the disqualification from driving sentence only.

Justice Dunningham’s decision outlines two reasons for the appeal, one being the judge erred by not giving any reasons for the disqualification and the second that Ryan was not warned prior to being sentenced that disqualification was going to be exercised, thus not able to address the court on the issue.

While Justice Dunningham said there was evidence that Ryan’s lawyer knew about the possibility of disqualification, as it was discussed in court at sentencing, Judge Brandts-Giesen only provided cursory reasons why the disqualification was issued.

"I consider the judge erred in that regard. As such, I consider the matter afresh."

She believed the sentence of imprisonment alone was sufficient to meet the relevant sentencing principles of holding Ryan to account for harm done, denouncing his conduct and deterring him and others.

"In the circumstances of this case, where Mr Ryan will be in custody for the majority, if not all, of the period of disqualification, there is no other practical benefit of such a sentence.

"Accordingly, I would not impose a sentence of disqualification having regard to factors relevant to the exercise of my discretion."

 

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