Man beaten in prison ahead of sentencing

Invercargill District Court.

A MAN who received stolen items taken from a property where he had been employed as a gardener was beaten up in prison days before he was sentenced.

Joshua Paul Cranstoun appeared in the Invercargill District Court yesterday for Crown sentencing before Judge Russell Walker with facial bruises and cuts clearly evident.

Judge Walker asked if Cranstoun had received his injuries while in prison.

Cranstoun’s counsel, Jono Ross, confirmed he had been assaulted two days previously in what had been Cranstoun’s first stint in custody. He had been in custody three months.

Judge Walker said Cranstoun answered a Facebook advertisement in which the victims were looking for a person to do some landscaping and was successful in gaining employment.

In a victim impact statement, the employers said Cranstoun came across as a family man who was trustworthy and reliable with his work being described as excellent.

They had given him keys to access the garage and the shed. However, it was when they gave him $120 to empty a trailer and fill a petrol container he never came back, the judge said.

He later returned the trailer while the victims were not there.

Less than a month later, tools including chainsaws and a weed eater were stolen from the victims’ property.

The victims put up a post on Facebook asking Cranstoun to get into contact with them and then received an anonymous message back showing a post from Cranstoun advertising the two stolen chainsaws in which he stated they “were a little bit warm” indicating they had been stolen, Judge Walker said.

When police executed a search warrant they found the weed eater, petrol canister and keys at Cranstoun’s address.

While Cranstoun had originally been charged with burglary, it was later changed to receiving.

The consequences of Cranstoun’s offending were the couple could not go to their annual cultural harvest at the Titi/Muttonbird Islands causing them significant financial cost.

Judge Walker said at the heart of Cranstoun’s offending was drug addiction.

“I have also read your letter about your self-medication with illegal drugs to suppress problems you do not want to face,” Judge Walker said.

Cranstoun was sentenced to three months and two weeks’ home detention and ordered to pay $2437 for three charges of assaulting a person in a family relationship, wilful damage and one charge of receiving. Outstanding fines of $2756.12 were remitted.