R v Gemmell [2017] NZDC 25796

Published 12 July 2018

Arson — unlawful possession of a knife in a public place — sentencing — Ollerenshaw v R [2010] NZCA 32 — R v Z CA138/07 — R v Ricky Ricky — R v Grindrod CA263/99 — Howarth v R [2014] NZCA 237. The defendant was sentenced on one charge of arson after he entered a flat in Christchurch and lit three fires around the property. The defendant's explanation for the offending was that he had returned to the flat to retrieve something and that he had lit the fires in order to see as there was no power. The defendant was also sentenced for having a knife in his possession at the time of the offending. Aggravating factors were the degree of premeditation, unlawful entry into a dwellinghouse and the extent of the damage caused to the property which was assessed as being just under $77,000 worth of damage. No uplift was given for the defendant's previous convictions as the court found that there were only a limited number of relevant offences. A discount was given for the defendant's guilty plea. The defendant was sentenced to three years' imprisonment on the charge of arson and one month imprisonment on the possession of a knife charge, to be served concurrently. Judgment Date: 15 November 2017.