A man who mistook a rural water treatment plant in New Zealand for a methamphetamine production laboratory, and detained two workers for three hours while he searched the facility for meth, has been sentenced to home detention. Michael James Roy Turner, 29, appeared in the Hamilton District Court on Friday charged with two counts of kidnapping, one charge of burglary, and two counts each of assaulting police and resisting police.
All the charges related to an incident on February 26 when, at 8.30am, he broke into the Waitomo District Council-owned plant in Benneydale under the illusion that it was a sophisticated methamphetamine operation.In doing so, he activated an alarm and two workers from the infrastructure management company Veolia Water went to investigate.
On entering, the pair were confronted by Turner, who was armed with a large hunting knife in a sheah attached to his belt.
Although he did not brandish the knife, he was acting in an erratic and irrational manner and demanded they make him some meth.
The pair felt compelled to stay where they were to avoid upsetting him.
According to the police summary of facts, at one point Turner began licking some of the glassware in the facility and snorted chlorine from a container, evidently under the impression that the residue and powder were methamphetamine.
After being detained for three hours, the two workers escaped and called the police. Turner fled into an area of bush behind the plant and was soon tracked down by two constables and a police dog.
Turner struggled violently as the two police officers attempted to arrest him and managed to get hold of one of the constable's batons, which he used against both officers before eventually being restrained.
Although shaken, the two workers were unharmed. They declined an invitation to take part in a restorative justice meeting with Turner.
Judge Kim Saunders sentenced Turner to seven months of home detention, with conditions including not to possess or consume alcohol or drugs that were not prescribed to him.
Before sentencing, Turner's counsel Jarom Keung said Turner had been in custody since his arrest and asked for that to be taken into account.
An additional charge of aggravated burglary was withdrawn by the Crown.