21 Sep 2015

Glock pistols thief escapes jail sentence

5:52 pm on 21 September 2015

A contractor, who stole the Glock pistols used in the fatal police shooting of Waitara man Stephen Wallace in 2000, has escaped a jail sentence.

Benjamin Manwaring Downes

Benjamin Manwaring Downes Photo: RNZ/ Robin Martin

Benjamin Manwaring Downes appeared in the New Plymouth District Court today for sentencing on charges of theft and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Downes was a contractor who had access to all areas of the New Plymouth court building.

Sometime between October 2003 and 31 December 2004, the 40-year-old took the two Glocks and ammunition from the evidence strongroom.

He passed one of the pistols on to an associate in exchange for drugs.

Judge John Macdonald sentenced Downes to 300 hours community work and ordered him to pay $800 in reparations.

He was convicted and discharged on the firearms charge.