Home detention for Abbott

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Dodgy Queenstown mechanic Karl Abbott has been sentenced to home detention by an Invercargill judge.

But he hasn’t been barred from working on cars.

Abbott lied to a customer, an insurance company and the Disputes Tribunal – saying he’d repaired a car .

He went to trial  in the Invercargill District Court in January but part way through.

The serial fraudster admitted two charges of fraudulently using a document for financial gain and one of attempting to pervert the course of justice. 

He was discharged on two charges relating to work on another vehicle.

Yesterday, Abbott was sentenced to seven months’ home detention on the perversion of justice charge and three months on each of the other charges, the sentences to run concurrently. 

Despite Abbott’s numerous previous dishonesty convictions, he was deemed suitable for home detention at his Lakes Hayes estate home. 

Abbott has dishonesty convictions dating back to 1995 and served two prison terms in the decade from 2000. 

Among several conditions imposed at sentencing were that he not handle financial transactions for any business without the permission of his probation officer.

He was also ordered to pay $766 to Lumley Insurance and $3000 to his victim by 4pm yesterday. 

Judge Michael Turner said Abbott took advantage of the owner of the car, Brazilian Darcio Fernandez, who was not familiar with New Zealand or its laws.

Fernandez lacked mechanical knowledge and had limited funds when he asked Abbott to repair a faulty transmission on his Honda in 2012.

“The victim is frustrated,” Turner said. “The transmission fault remains, with an estimate of $2000 to repair it.”

Abbott told Fernandez he had located and fitted a second-hand gearbox.

Fernandez had breakdown insurance so Abbott invoiced Lumley Insurance $776 for the repair, with Fernandez paying the $200 excess.

Fernandez wasn’t happy with the repair and returned the car to Abbott twice.

Still not happy, he took him to the Disputes Tribunal. At the hearing, Abbott produced a signed letter saying he had located and fitted a second-hand gearbox.

His lawyer, John Westgate, said ”nobody was more disappointed” with the charges than his client.

”There is no doubt there is offending of a similar ilk some years ago, but he has made a real effort to get on with his life since then and a lot of people respect the mechanical work he does.”

Abbott had taken a “ridiculous risk” with Fernandez’ car “‘out of a misguided sense of trying to help someone out”, Westgate said.

Because of the offending, Abbott had “become the pet project of the local press”.

Abbott was in a position to repay the insurance company and could pay Mr Fernandez a $3000 emotional harm reparation payment, Westgate said.

Turner said Abbott’s attempt to pervert the course of justice initially succeeded, as the tribunal dismissed Fernandez’ claim.

”You were successful until the truth was finally discovered by another mechanic some time later.”

Otago Daily Times