Manawatu Standard

Man taken to jail, immediatel­y released

- Jimmy Ellingham

A man who assaulted his partner with a tool and spent almost a year waiting in custody for his trial to start is now a free man.

But that freedom wasn’t as straightfo­rward as it might have been, the Palmerston North District Court heard yesterday.

Dennis Hines, 28, admitted one charge of assault with a weapon and was jailed for five months and one week.

Because Hines had already been in jail for 11 months facing trial on more serious charges, which were withdrawn, he had already served his time.

But it seemed the rules couldn’t be bent and Hines, because he was sentenced to a jail term, would have to be taken to Manawatu¯ Prison, where he would be processed and immediatel­y released.

‘‘Is there any way this can be avoided?’’ Judge Jonathan Krebs asked. It seemed there wasn’t and the court heard Hines’ mother was on standby to pick him up from Linton.

Defence lawyer Peter Foster hoped Hines wouldn’t be taken to Hawke’s Bay Prison, where he had spent his 11 months inside.

On May 18 last year, in Shannon, Hines and his partner had an argument.

His partner attempted to hug Hines, but he grabbed a ratchet wrench and struck her hand, causing injuries.

Hines has previous conviction­s, including for illegally possessing firearms.

The judge did not impose postprison release conditions.

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