New Zealand Police v DX [2019] NZYC 279

Published 15 November 2019

Sentencing — wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm — Rangatahi Court — Oranga Tamariki Act 1989, ss 4, 5, 208, 282, 283 & 284 — United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The young person appeared for sentencing in relation to one charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. She had waited outside the victim's house until the victim came out then attacked her with a paint scraper, causing many injuries, such as lacerations to the head and a deviated nasal septum. The main issue for the Judge to decide was whether a sentence under s 282 or s 283(a) of the Oranga Tamariki Act (the Act) was the appropriate outcome. A s 283(a) discharge would leave a record of this offence on the young person’s record while a s 282 discharge would have the legal effect of meaning that the young person would have no record and it would be as if the young person never appeared in Court. There was no statutory provision that specifically provides guidance on how to choose between the two options that are available. A s 282 discharge cannot be granted if the offending is category 4 but the law would allow the option of a s 282 discharge in respect of this charge because it was a category 3 offence. It would also allow a s 283(a) discharge to be granted. In support of a s 282 discharge was the work and time the young person had put into completing a Family Group Conference plan, her supportive family and genuine remorse. The Judge did not consider this young person was someone who would ever appear in court for the wrong reasons again. Weighing against a s 282 discharge was the victim's opinion. She was still suffering emotional, psychological and physical pain due to the young person's offending and considered that because she had caused grievous bodily harm it was appropriate this was noted on her record. In the circumstances, the Judge decided the appropriate sentence was a discharge under s 282. Judgment Date: 5 June 2019. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *