R v McGirr [2021] NZDC 4017

Published 25 May 2021

Sentencing — attempting to pervert the course of justice — cultivating cannabis — hiding evidence — Sentencing Act 2002. The defendant appeared for sentence on charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice and cultivating cannabis. He had hosted a party at his house, where attendees had used drugs and alcohol. One of the attendees subsequently died of a drug overdose, at which point the defendant attempted to stop others from calling for aid and then hid the deceased's belongings. The defendant had argued at trial that he had done so as an effort to show respect to the deceased, but the jury had rejected this argument. The offending was aggravated by attempting to hinder a police investigation into another person's death, and offending while subject to a sentence (one of the conditions of which was not to drink alcohol). In mitigation, the defendant had quickly admitted to police that he had hidden the belongings, and showed the police where they were. The start point for sentence was 18 months' imprisonment, with a two-month uplift for offending while subject to a sentence (and in fact actively breaching the sentence). The Court opted not to substitute a sentence of home detention, pointing to the defendant's lack of remorse, his apparent sense of entitlement, and the fact that he had breached the terms of his bail in circumstances reminiscent of the original offending. The sentence was 20 months' imprisonment. Judgment Date: 5 March 2021