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Housing NZ Plans To Repossess Neville Yates' Home

From: Irinka Britnell - Secretary Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party

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I was Neville Yates personal assistant for his trial 2 November 2004. I just got a call from Neville Yates at Paparoa Prison. He told me he had just received a call from Housing N.Z. this afternoon 5 November, telling him they were going to repossess his home. Of course we are going to try and save it for him and are making enquiries right now as to how this may be achieved. It is very difficult for anybody to start again when they come out of jail, but so much harder for a disabled person.

We wonder if Judge David Holderness realises how far reaching his punishment would go, when he sent Neville to jail for five months.

The Judge said Neville was disabled therefore unable to perform community work. We have since discovered that some places, such as the Linwood Community Resource Centre do take on disabled people for community work. The Judge also stated Neville could not do home detention because that was where the crime had occurred. We read in the Press 30 October 2004 A3 where a pregnant wife-beater was being allowed to do some home detention where a much worse violent crime had occurred. In Neville's case there was no violence and he himself stated that he was the only victim.

The Judge said "imposing a non custodial sentence would be to suggest some special category for cannabis cultivation offences " - but that is no reason to jail somebody. We already have the example of Ian Jackson who was discharged without conviction where the court accepted that the cannabis was for his medicinal use. Press 13 December 2003. Isn't Neville's life of equal worth - Neville did not mind if he must get a conviction, but a jail term for this offence is over the top.

Then the Judge picked on Neville's friends and advisors. We feel this was the final insult that had nothing to do with matters of law and justice.

This was a prejudicial if not intimidating statement against a particular group of people for their political beliefs.

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