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Court of Appeal rejects appeal by Blaine Hughes for attempted murder of teenager in 2013

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The Court of Appeal has dismissed Blaine Ross Hughes’ appeal seeking to overturn his conviction and sentence for the attempted murder of a 13-year-old girl in 2013.
Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

An imprisoned man who attempted to murder a 13-year-girl has had an appeal dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

Blaine Ross Hughes pleaded guilty to attempted murder and was sentenced to preventive detention with a five-year minimum jail time in 2014.

Preventive detention is an indeterminate prison term, meaning if the prisoner is released on parole they can be recalled to prison at any time.

His sentence relates to an incident in Timaru in 2013 when Hughes pulled the girl off her bike, placing an arm around her neck and applying significant pressure before dragging her backwards over a barbed wire fence towards his car.

The girl lost consciousness, but a witness began calling out and Hughes ran off.

When the police arrived, they discovered a machete and an unloaded .22 rifle in his car.

Once arrested, he claimed he only wanted to steal her bike but later confessed he planned to kill her.

He also pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of an offensive weapon, unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, theft of a sum in excess of $1000 and burglary, which he was sentenced to concurrent terms of one year’s imprisonment.

Hughes had argued in the Court of Appeal that he never intended to kill her and was coerced into making a false confession, seeking to overturn his conviction and sentence.

The Court of Appeal rejected his claims.

“Preventive detention was a considered and proportionate response to Mr Hughes’ offending and his circumstances.

“The sentence imposed was not manifestly excessive,” the Court of Appeal said.

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