Now – let’s see if we have got this right.
Before the High Court we have a stalker who is appealing that his sentence in the District Court was too stiff.
His name is Vincent Kerry Warren.
He became infatuated with his driving instructor and proceeded to obsessively stalk and harass here.
He also threatened to kill her.
It’s a measure of her concern that she considered moving overseas to escape him.
A judge banged him up for five years, which looks way too light for Alf (although Alf never read all those law books that must be absorbed before you can become a judge).
The District Court judge obviously was not intending to be soft, if this report on the matter has got things right.
But the High Court judge thought he should have been softer.
At his original sentencing in the Christchurch District Court in June 2014 Judge Alistair Garland said Warren’s case was one of the most concerning he had ever dealt with.
Warren successfully argued in the High Court on February 3 that his sentence was too harsh.
A successful appeal suggests the District Court overlooked something.
What could it have been?
The answer is not too apparent to the member for Eketahuna North.
While behind bars for harassing the woman he told a prison-mate that he wanted to get a craft knife and cut the woman’s throat and watch her die.
The prison-mate was shaken by what he had heard and told prison authorities.
The High Court judge was Justice Warrick Gendall.
He is reported to have said the threat to kill came after four years of harassment and intimidation of the woman and referred to his “predatory obsession”.
And there’s more…
Justice Gendall said Warren carried out the threat with a “chilling demeanour”, which added to the concern.
“As the witness stated, he believed with every fibre of his being that Mr Warren would carry out the threat.”
He said Warren had no remorse for his actions.
“He seems wholly unable to grasp the concept that the victim wants nothing to do with him.”
Justice Gendall furthermore said he agreed with Judge Garland’s concern in his sentencing notes.
“I have very real concerns about Mr Warren and his abnormal obsession with the victim in this matter.”
But if you get the feeling a big “but” is on its way you are right…
He said he was reluctant to reach the conclusion that the sentence of five years was out of line with similar cases of offending – but:
He said Warren’s offending was less serious than other cases presented by Warren in his appeal case.
He said the fact that the threat had not been made directly to the woman and reached her second hand made it less serious.
Justice Gendall recommended every possible effort be made to provide Warren psychological assessment and treatment in prison.
And so the five year prison sentence was reduced to three years six months behind bars, with a minimum time of imprisonment of two years.
Warren also tried to appeal against his conviction for threatening to kill but the appeal was thrown out.
Alf can’t help but think the whole appeal should have been thrown out.
But maybe he is much too ill-informed on these law-and-order issues and should go and read all those law books that make judges see things more clearly.