21 Dec 2012

Medal thief allowed to keep reward

12:47 pm on 21 December 2012

The Supreme Court has ruled that a career burglar who stole $5 million worth of medals from the Waiouru Army Museum can keep his $100,000 reward for returning them.

James Kapa and Ronald van Wakeren burgled the museum in 2007, stealing 96 gallantry medals, including nine Victoria Crosses.

Through their lawyer, the two burglars anonymously claimed a reward offered by two members of the public, Lord Ashcroft and Tom Sturgess.

When both men were subsequently arrested and pleaded guilty, van Wakeren repaid his share of the reward but Kapa did not.

A district court judge ordered him to pay $100,000 reparation, the reward amount he received.

However, the Supreme Court has ruled by a majority of four to one, that neither the reward donors nor the police are entitled to reparation under the Sentencing Act because they are not crime victims.

The judges say it may be possible to recover the money from Kapa under the Criminal Proceeds Recovery Act.

The police are seeking advice on this and say they will make no further comment at this stage.