Plea deal nets man five years’ probation in a ‘self-help’ case

WAILUKU – A man was placed on five years’ probation Feb. 15 for entering another man’s residence in what attorneys described as a case of “self-help” involving a truck.

Matthew Gardiner, 36, was given credit for 15 days he previously spent in jail.

Gardiner went to the other man’s home in Kihei the evening of Nov. 3, 2011, after becoming “very frustrated” because his Ford Ranger truck was being dismantled there, said defense attorney Myles Breiner.

“He took it upon himself to get it,” Breiner said. “Self-help resulted in him being arrested.”

He said Gardiner should have relied on police to intervene.

Instead, Gardiner “puts together a posse” before going to the home, said Deputy Prosecutor Mark Simonds. He said Gardiner had three other men with him when he entered the home wielding a pipe, which was taken away from him, then used on him.

Later, Gardiner went to a Kihei gas station and reported that he was assaulted there, Simonds said. He said Gardiner got his girlfriend to go along with the story, which both later recanted.

In court Friday, Gardiner said he realized he shouldn’t take the law into his own hands.

He said he took his three friends with him to the house because of a prior encounter, also over the truck, with the resident. Gardiner said he had been in the garage when the resident invited him inside, where there was a second man. In the house, Gardiner said he saw the jack handle from his truck, which he grabbed before it was used on him.

Gardiner said his injuries required 30 staples and 25 stitches on his head.

Gardiner had pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of unauthorized entry into a dwelling, with the prosecution dismissing a charge of first-degree robbery.

While following a plea agreement in imposing the sentence, 2nd Circuit Judge Richard Bissen denied Gardiner’s request for a chance to keep the conviction off his record.

Gardiner has five prior convictions, including two for felony offenses of third-degree robbery and first-degree theft in 2006 in Oregon. He also has five current restraining orders against him that were brought by five different women, Bissen said.

He said a sixth restraining order against Gardiner had expired.

“I don’t see that Mr. Gardiner is capable of following the law, at least the law we have on the books,” Bissen said. “He has his own idea of what should be the law.”

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at