Truck trasher’s spell in prison shortened
A ‘‘recidivist’’ sent to jail for burglary and trashing a speedway truck in Cromwell has had his sentence reduced. Tane Rakana Matika, 31, was sentenced in Alexandra District Court in July last year for burglary, assault with a weapon, assault, threatening to cause grievous bodily harm and unlawfully taking a motor vehicle. The judge, who described Matika as a recidivist, imposed a cumulative sentence of three years’ and four months’ jail relating to two separate incidents. An appeal was lodged against the sentence imposed for burglary and unlawful taking. Court documents, in relation to the unlawful taking, say Matika and a cousin were drinking at a house in Cromwell on November 25 last year when an argument started. They left and decided to look at the new speedway, found a truck with the keys in it and took turns driving it around the track. His cousin rolled the truck on to its side then they poured diesel and petrol into the cab. A lawyer for Matika argued the court erred by imposing cumulative sentences of two years and two months plus 12 months. Justice Graham Lang in the Dunedin High Court said a starting point of 21 months’ jail was appropriate because many of the aggravating factors of burglary were absent. However, the offending caused significant damage to the truck between $9000 and $14,000. Regarding Matika’s previous convictions, the latest offending was made more serious because he ignored the lesson from two previous jail sentences. Judge Lang arrived at a cumulative end sentence of two years and 11 months.