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Prolific offender jailed for helmet thefts

A “prolific offender” was jailed for three months after he admitted breaking into motorcycles to steal helmets.

Magistrates’ Court heard that Maxwell Smith, 50, was sent to Drug Treatment Court in September, 2020, after he pleaded guilty to two counts of theft and two counts of property damage the previous year.

But Smith returned to court for sentencing yesterday after he was removed from the treatment programme when he was charged with another offence, yet to come before the courts.

The court heard that Smith broke into a motorcycle parked at City Hall and stole a motorcycle helmet.

He targeted another motorcycle the next day that was parked outside Coconut Rock on Reid Street, Hamilton, and stole two helmets.

The incidents happened on November 24 and 25, 2019.

Smith told the court in 2020 that he stole the helmets because he needed money for food and told the court that he had a drug problem.

But yesterday, Lisa Trott, for the Crown, said: “Defendants seem to think this is a victimless crime – the Crown disagrees.”

Ms Trott said that Smith had offences for theft that dated back as far as 1986 and asked that he pay $801 in restitution to the victims.

She also asked that he serve three months in jail for each theft charge and one month for each property damage charge, and that the theft jail sentences run consecutively while the others run concurrently.

But Marc Daniels, for the defence, said that the consecutive sentences had been ruled unnecessary by the Court of Appeal unless offences had been going on for months.

He asked that his client be given a suspended jail sentence to allow him time to pay off the restitution fines.

Mr Daniels said that his client had also stayed out of trouble for most of his adult life – but warned that imprisonment could have a negative effect on his rehabilitation.

He said: “What happens if we send him to jail?

“Are we just sending the message that, despite all his best efforts, we just continue the cycle?”

Smith thanked the court for their help in the drug treatment programme.

He apologised to the court for his actions, but added “that was a long time ago and I’m not that person any more”.

Magistrate Maxanne Anderson sentenced Smith to three months imprisonment for each theft offence and one month imprisonment for each property damage offences. She ordered them to all run concurrently.

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