R v Shannon Best [2016] NZDC 3808

Published 31 July 2016

Sentencing — arson — burglary — using a document — R v Mohi [2007] NZCA 139 — R v Wonnacott [2009] NZCA 414 — Cox v R [2013] NZCA 194. The defendant was sentenced to a total of 3 years and eight months’ imprisonment on 21 charges including arson, 14 charges of theft, 2 charges of receiving, one of burglary, one of unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, one of dishonest use of a credit card and one of driving while forbidden. The arson involved setting fire to the victim’s car as repayment of a debt owed to a co-offender. That the car was parked close to the victim’s house and there was premeditation and planning, including avoiding activating the alarm, counted as aggravating factors. There is no tariff for sentencing in cases of arson as the circumstances of each case vary widely. However, relevant cases were considered for consistency and the least restrictive outcome appropriate in the circumstances imposed. On the lead charge of arson the defendant was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment with further cumulative sentences of imprisonment of one year for the burglary and eight months for the using a document charges. Concurrent sentences were given on the theft charges and conviction. On the driving charge the defendant was convicted and discharged. Although reparation had been sought, there were no reasonable prospects of payment and no orders for reparation were made.