123rd conviction? Seriously? How about protective custody under the Mental Health Act?

When someone racks up their 123rd conviction you know there is no helping them.

A “prolific” repeat offender has notched up his 123rd conviction.

Karl Stephen Baars’ criminal history includes 90 convictions for burglary, violence and theft and 31 convictions in the youth court.

The 27-year-old was sentenced on Monday for shoplifting from The Warehouse in Blenheim and breaching intensive supervision.

Baars, a recovering meth addict, was sentenced to community detention at a rehab centre, as Judge Richard Russell said this was his best chance of escaping the cycle of re-offending.

He can’t escape the cycle, he is the cycle.

Baars was required to wear an electronically-monitored bracelet to make sure he completed the full 10-week course at the St Marks Residential Addiction Treatment Centre in Blenheim.

His sentencing was put off until a room became available.

He had been in custody since he was caught shoplifting on February 11.

His lawyer Rob Harrison said Baars had worked extremely hard to get clean over the past few months.

Not hard enough.

He was a recovering methamphetamine addict who relied on methadone medication while in custody, which helped to “stabilise” him.

Really, that’s just not believable…treating methamphetamine with an opiate? Someone is taking the piss.

“He deliberately placed himself into segregation to avoid being around substances in prison,” Harrison said.

More like he is a ratbag and even prisoners hate him.

Baars was convicted for the 123rd time on Monday, in what was his 57th appearance for sentencing.

He admitted shoplifting more than $1086 worth of items from The Warehouse.

Police said he went to The Warehouse, took a bag from a shelf and filled it with a bluetooth headphone set, a Freeview satellite receiver, a ratchet socket set and a hobby knife set.

He then went to the shoe section, where he swapped the shoes he was wearing for a new pair.

Baars then went to the bike section and took a men’s mountain bike and left without paying for any of the items.

Police found Baars a short time later.

He admitted stealing the items, and said a friend had asked him to get some disc brakes for his mountain bike, but did not know why he took the items, police said.

The Warehouse sought $79 in reparation for the bag and the shoes as they were marked and could not be sold.

Baars also faced a charge of breaching intensive supervision after he moved to Blenheim from Kapiti in October last year without telling police or probation.

Judge Russell said underlying drug issues were affecting his behaviour.

You think?

This guy is a recidivist with mental issues…he is a clear candidate for locking up and throwing away the key.


– Fairfax


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  • Just me

    I think all we know for sure is that a) the system is failing the community, b) the system isn’t able to rehabilitate this person c) the lawyer is also on crack – people that work hard on something generally succeed. If his client was working hard at coming clean then he’d probably succeed at it. d) the fact he’s prepared to steal for his mate means that this isn’t just a drug related issue. He feels entitled to take what he likes to support a habit he opted into.

  • Greg M

    The lawyer needs a clip round the ear as well.
    “His lawyer Rob Harrison said Baars had worked extremely hard to get clean over the past few months”, well that’s probably because the ratbag has been in jail you fool.

  • waldopepper

    ive never understood this “diminished capacity due to drug taking” defence. to take drugs is a conscious choice he made, and the dangers, pitfalls and perils of doing so are well known, in fact one could say they are pervasive throughout our society. to then be able to use it as a defence seems ridiculous to me. if i choose to drink and drive can i claim same? “gee whiz your honour, the booze made me do it”. good luck with that. but make it drugs and the whole new level of harm for the community at large that they bring, and instead of coming down harder we have to give him a big cuddle.

  • Michelle

    Where do his rights come before the general law abiding pubic?

    These judges need to think about that before any of the excuses the lawyer puts forward, the lawyer knows he is onto a good thing with this one every time he breaks the law the lawyer makes money defending him

  • Wheninrome

    All at our cost. He has had more than his share of assistance to suit him courtesy of the state. I think the “state” needs to be given the choice of giving him assistance which suits “Joe Public” out here in the street. Whatever it is going to cost the tax payer, but at least let us get some sense of justice for the money we are spending on this low life individual. He made his choices, they have backfired on him, where should it remain my problem. I make my own choices.

  • Sceptic59

    Oh come on!

    Give the guy a break

    Everyone deserves a 123rd break

    Stop being so sensitive

    • Superman

      Probably wasn’t breastfed.

      • InnerCityDweller

        Parents divorced perhaps?

  • Rick H

    3 or 4 decades ago, he would not have ever managed to stack up 10 convictions.
    He would have been in a “Lunatic asylum” where his type still should be to this day.
    “Letting them all out into the community” was never going to work.

  • Hardie Martin

    Perhaps he’s one of Blenheims homeless. Someone who is not an out of touch National MP should take him in and care for him.

  • JC

    I agree with restorative justice, diversion or other methods that compensate the victim or “blood money”. But that presumes the state will come down much harder on crimes beyond the Pale and including persistent offenders.

    There’s really only two choices for a person with multiple offenses.. either preventative detention or open ended detention under the mental health Act.

    Every Government and judge commits a criminal offense when they release a recidivist criminal upon society; they should be brought to book for their crimes.


  • taxpayer

    The justice system is a joke when you can have 123 convictions and still be walking about town.
    How did we get to this state of affairs, who decided that Justice in NZ will be a soft touch? Who seems to have stacked the Judicial benches with mostly useless crim hugging , nobody should be thrown on the scrap heap even after 123 convictions, dud Judges?.

    We have a major problem with child abuse in the country, it’s a national disgrace, so instead of zero tolerance and coming down on abusers like a ton of bricks ,they let the guilty parties of the most brutal of recent cases get away with manslaughter, what kind of message does that send?
    A very wrong message I say
    And what happened when we said enough and forced a referendum with the Norm Withers petition, we all said clearly we want tougher sentences and we were ignored by the then Labour govt, who went on to reduce the wait for parole to one third of the sentence, unless a specified non parole was period was set down by a Judge.
    The arrogance of that still grinds my gears.
    Now we have Judges ignoring the three strikes law.
    What a sad and infuriating world we live in at times.