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Home detention for Work and Income threat

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 14/07/2016

A Rotorua man has been sentenced to eight months' home detention for threatening over the phone to put a bullet in the head of a Work and Income staffer.

However the judge sentencing Harley Collier, 26, in Rotorua District Court on Thursday says he can understand frustrations people have with the organisation.

"I've been told you just cant walk in and make an appointment, you have to ring an 0800 number, you hang on for an hour before you give up and hang up or are told you have to do it on line, so it is frustrating," Judge Louis Bidois said.

Collier had earlier pleaded guilty to a charge of threatening to kill after he'd told the person he was talking in January to he'd end up with a bullet in his head "and be like those other people who come and f***ing shoot you".

Judge Bidois told Collier regardless of any frustrations he felt his words had been pretty nasty and affected the recipient who said in a victim impact statement the experience had been "pretty scary", leaving him shaken and unsure if he wanted to do the job any more.

As well as his time on home detention Collier is to carry out 140 hours' community work. He was discharged for breaching bail.

Collier's lawyer Cathy Jackson said he now realised his words had been foolish but hadn't understood the damage that could be done by such a threat.

According to the police summary of facts Collier had phoned the Work and Income call centre to apply for financial assistance, becoming abusive when declined.

The call taker had feared Collier was capable of carrying out his threats at one of the country's Work and Income offices.

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