Judge ‘irritated’ offender’s conference with police didn’t go ahead

Simon O’Connor/Stuff

Armed police put a cordon up on Bedford St in New Plymouth following threats that officers would be shot.

The canning of a restorative justice conference between police and a young offender who viewed them as an enemy and threatened to shoot them has “irritated” a sentencing judge.

Piri Urwin, 22, held a rifle before officers during a lengthy standoff in Taranaki last year.

At his sentencing in New Plymouth District Court, Judge Tony Greig said police were willing to attend the conference with an also-keen Urwin.

But restorative justice decided it was “unsuitable to proceed further”, which the judge said irritated him.

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While he was not completely sure of the reasons why it was cancelled, Judge Greig suggested there may have been concerns for police.

“I wouldn’t have thought police would have been at risk,” he said.

“The purpose of restorative justice would have been for you to start learning police are not your enemy.”

Defence lawyer Julian Hannam said Urwin’s “very strong views” about police had sparked the September 25 incident.

It was an “extreme reaction to the presence of police”, Hannam said of Urwin’s offending.

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Residents were kept outside the cordon while police negotiated with the offender, Piri Urwin.

Officers arrived at Urwin’s house in Bedford St, New Plymouth, about 4.30pm to speak with another occupant of the address.

While police were talking with the man, Urwin placed a knife on the kitchen table and made his first threat.

“You’re all going to get shot,” he told them before leaving the room.

Urwin returned soon after holding the rifle and repeated: “You’re all going to get shot.”

Police left the address but armed officers quickly cordoned off the no-exit street.

At one point Urwin came outside and took photos of police.

He was told he was under arrest but yelled “sorry, I can’t hear you”, and ran back inside.

During the lengthy stand-off, Urwin was seen in the kitchen window with a large butcher’s knife.

He stared at police and made cutting and stabbing motions at himself, a police summary of facts stated.

About 6.30pm the incident came to an end, with Urwin surrendering.

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In relation to the offending, Urwin was sentenced in New Plymouth District Court on Monday.

At an earlier hearing, Urwin pleaded guilty to presenting a firearm, threatening to kill/do grievous bodily harm and possession of an offensive weapon.

At Monday’s hearing, Judge Greig told Urwin he was at a crossroads.

“It’s up to you which way you go. Things could go really bad or get better.”

Urwin struggled with addiction issues, including a claimed 300-a-day cigarette habit, as well as severe Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), it was heard in court.

His risk of recidivism would be reduced by a referral for psychiatric evaluation with a trial of medication for ADHD, an advice to court report stated.

Hannam said Urwin was willing to do what he needed.

Judge Greig sentenced Urwin to 18 months’ intensive supervision to support his rehabilitation needs.