A dairy owner has criticised bail laws after learning the man who robbed his son at knifepoint had been arrested the previous day for carrying a knife and had told authorities he wanted to stab someone.
Court documents show that on October 7, the day before he robbed Colorado Dairy co-owner Mohammed Begg, Bevan Peter Brown, 34, told a mental health care facility manager he was thinking about stabbing someone in a supermarket to get arrested.
Police were informed and arrested Brown after he was found walking on the Gate Pa Shopping Centre boardwalk with a knife. He told police he was heading towards Countdown Greerton, where he had intended to stab someone.
"I have been trying to put this off all day, just trying to put it out of my mind, but it is case of suicide or homicide today for me," he said.
Brown was arrested and charged with possession of a knife in a public place and threatening to kill or do grievous bodily harm with a stabbing/cutting weapon.
The following day he appeared in Tauranga District Court and was released on strict bail terms by Community Magistrate Robyn Paterson. Hours later, he was back on the streets carrying a knife. Bay of Plenty Times' inquiries have established police did not oppose Brown's bail and within hours of his release from court he walked from his Cameron Rd home to Greerton Countdown.
Brown took some groceries and left the store with his hand on the knife in his jacket pocket.
He then crossed the road to the Colorado Dairy and approached Mr Begg, and asked for cigarettes and a lighter.
Brown removed the knife from his pocket and held it towards Mr Begg, who backed away.
When questioned by police, Brown admitted what he had done, saying he had the knife to threaten people, was feeling suicidal and had homicidal thoughts, and had been thinking about stabbing someone at a crowded supermarket.
He said he would never have used the knife to harm anyone.
Brown pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated robbery, possession of a knife and threatening to kill or cause grievous bodily harm with a stabbing/cutting weapon in Tauranga District Court recently. Brown's lawyer Rachael Adams did not seek bail for her client and Judge Christopher Harding remanded Brown in custody for sentencing on December 19.
After Brown's court appearance, Colorado Dairy co-owner Muhammad Begg senior said Brown had mental health issues and needed help.
"Someone like him should never have been allowed out on bail. I'm very, very annoyed that he was allowed back on the street after he told police and the health worker what he planned to do.
"What if he had stabbed someone to death? It easily could have been my son.
"I'm very, very annoyed with the system which would allow this to happen, and someone's at fault here. Either it's the police or the judge, or maybe both."
Despite his criticism, Mr Begg said he and his son wanted to thank the police officers who responded to their 111 call so quickly.
Tauranga Sensible Sentencing Trust advocate Ken Evans said: "This man should never have been given bail the first time he was in court. It is the first duty of the courts to protect the public.
"The courts are making a set of rules for people to follow but it was clear this guy was never going to follow them.
"It's absolutely ludicrous and unbelievable that he was allowed back on the street after twice admitting he had homicidal thoughts of stabbing someone.
"He should have been held in custody, not only for the public's protection but for his own safety.
"It's exactly the reason why the Bail Act needs to tightened."
The incident comes as Parliament considers a bill designed to make sweeping changes to bail legislation which were designed to prevent violent or sexual offenders reoffending, following the death of Christie Marceau who was stabbed to death in a frenzied attack in her Auckland home last year.
Statement from Inspector Clifford Paxton, Western Bay police area commander
Police are always very concerned when offences are committed against our communities.
We all carry a responsibility to make our communities safe and ensure the safety of our community members. In this particular case, as with every case, the circumstances at the time have to be reviewed in their entirety and a decision made in relation to bail.
"These considerations have been undertaken in this case. Due to the nature of the matter, a referral was made to a partner agency with an understanding of follow-up action to be taken.
These situations can be quite dynamic with circumstances unfolding and changing over a very short period of time.
"How a person presents and is assessed at one point in time can very different a short time later.
"In this case our staff have completed the appropriate reviews and ensured the appropriate referrals have been made. It is always a concern that despite these reviews and referrals, further offending has then occurred.