18 Feb 2012

Community work for explosive sneaking attempt

6:06 am on 18 February 2012

An explosives expert who tried to take 660 kg of blasting explosives on an Interisland ferry without the proper paperwork, has been sentenced to serve 300 hours community work.

Allan Herbert Tod, 67, appeared in the High Court in Wellington on Friday for sentencing on charges including criminal nuisance.

He was also fined $5000 on a charge of failing to furnish a dangerous goods declaration.

In August 2010 he made a ferry booking in another name and tried to take on board a 4WD and trailer packed with the explosives. Police stopped him after a tip-off.

Regulations state that dangerous goods can be carried only on the 6.05am sailing on Sunday. Documents detailing the goods must be carried.

Justice Mackenzie said if the explosives had made it on board and detonated, the outcome would have been catastrophic.

The court had heard that the detonation would have caused several fires and been enough to sink the vessel.

The Crown sought a sentencing starting point of a short jail term, in light of the potential scale of catastrophe.

It also suggested Tod was motivated by a desire to avoid the cost and inconvenience of complying with dangerous goods transport rules.

However Tod's lawyer, Debbie Goodlet, said he was frustrated with bureaucratic changes, which would have delayed him reaching the South Island to carry out avalanche control work.

Justice Mackenzie said Tod had a long and previously unblemished record as a handler of explosives.

KiwiRail, which operates ferry, says it welcomes the sentence, as Tod put lives at risk and was negligent.

Interislander general manager Thomas Davis says Tod knew the rules but broke them anyway.