Blenheim man sent to prison on 55 charges

Steven Michael Hamel, 36, was sentenced on 55 charges at Blenheim District Court.

Scott Hammond/Stuff

Steven Michael Hamel, 36, was sentenced on 55 charges at Blenheim District Court.

A Marlborough man who stole a range of items from Blenheim businesses has been sent to prison for nearly two years.

Steven Michael Hamel, 36, targeted businesses mainly in the Blenheim area between December 2021 and April 2022, and the list of items stolen included credit cards, meat, groceries, clothing, torches, knives, a dremel tool, and a pair of boots.

He also stole a pair of keys and unlawfully took a vehicle belonging to a Blenheim woman on March 28, and dishonestly used credit and bank cards on multiple occasions.

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He faced 55 charges including dishonestly using a document, theft, receiving, possession of a knife, unlawfully taking a vehicle and unlawfully entering an enclosed yard.

Police were unable to provide a total reparation amount sought from the thefts, but said it was thought to be over $6900.

At Blenheim District Court on Monday, Hamel’s lawyer John Holdaway said his client was seeking a rehabilitative sentence, and was “very keen to get back out into the community and, really, start life again”.

“He’s been in and out of prison most of his life,” Holdaway said.

Judge Tony Zohrab set the sentence starting point at 50 months, before giving credits of 20% for guilty pleas, and a further 40% for aspects outlined in the pre-sentence reports, including Hamel’s substance abuse, mental health issues, and issues in respect to his family.

“The contents of the Section 27 (cultural) report makes for distressing reading, reading about your background, circumstances, what’s happened to you and what’s led to a number of decisions you’ve made in your life,” the judge said.

Hamel was sentenced to a total of 22 months’ imprisonment, and granted leave to apply for home detention, which would be served at a residential treatment centre.

Judge Zohrab said he was “not making any orders in relation to reparation,” and he said Hamel being able to pay the reparation was “simply not feasible”.

“People would just be sent letters telling them that reparation is ordered to be paid, when there’s no possibly of it,” he said.

This is a Public Interest Journalism funded role through NZ On Air