A kitchen and bathroom installer has been discharged without conviction after stealing from former Wellington high-flyer Terry Serepisos, who owed him money.
When Terry Serepisos was declared bankrupt in 2011, Nigel Jenkins' company, which had been doing construction work for him, was owed thousands of dollars.
In February last year, he was still owed about $8500 and his lawyer Mike Antunovic told the court Mr Jenkins made a somewhat spur-of-the-moment decision to take some of Mr Serepisos' property.
Mr Serepisos had several items stored in a warehouse and Mr Jenkins heard several contractors who were owed money had gone there and removed materials.
Mr Antunovic said when his client arrived at the warehouse about 30 or 40 people were there and it was "a chaotic scene with people clambering over each other and ripping open boxes left, right and centre".
He said Mr Jenkins thought he was never going to get paid and he would "grab some of the items, as everyone else was, and hang on to them and see if they [could] be used for bargaining".
Mr Antunovic said his client accepted he took no steps to get in touch with Terry Serepisos but he told a Serepisos offsider that he had the items.
He said everybody else who took property from the warehouse was in the same position as Mr Jenkins, but he was the only one ever charged.
At the Wellington District Court yesterday, Judge Ian Mill said the property taken was of a modest value and had all been recovered by police.
He said Mr Jenkins was unlikely to offend in the future and the adverse effects on his business of a conviction would be out of proportion to the seriousness of the offending.
The judge granted the discharge without conviction sought, but declined to permanently suppress Mr Jenkins' name.