Jewellery thief's sentence upheld

01:29, Jul 22 2014

A man who tied up the owners of a jewellery store while he robbed them of their "life's work" has lost his appeal to have his sentence cut.

West Auckland man Cavell Robert Maxwell McKee was jailed for eight years after being found guilty at trial of aggravated robbery and supplying methamphetamine.

In a bid to have his prison term slashed, McKee took his case to the Court of Appeal, arguing Judge Nevin Dawson had been too harsh when dealing with him in the Auckland District Court last year.

But the Court of Appeal judges said he was lucky to not be facing a longer stint inside.

On March 24, 2011, McKee entered the jewellery shop in West Coast Rd in Glen Eden where the owner, Ray Galley, was working with his 74-year-old mother, Beverly.

He pointed a double-barrelled shotgun at Ray Galley's head, and told him he was on P, "nervous" and willing to shoot.

McKee forced the pair to the floor, handcuffed the owner and bound Beverly Galley with cable ties.

While the offender swiped jewellery valued at $100,000 from the shop window and various cabinets, Ray Galley told him: "that's my life's work out there".

McKee simply said it would be covered by insurance, before fleeing the shop.

Ray Galley received only $40,000 from his insurance company and closed the shop as a result of financial pressures and emotional trauma.

Upon sentencing, Judge Dawson noted a "considerable degree of cruelty" and a high level of premeditation.

McKee had grown a beard for months in the lead-up to the robbery to try to disguise himself, the court heard.

At appeal, defence lawyer Sam Fernando submitted the judge had erred in not allowing a discount for remorse, and to acknowledge the appellant's attempts to rehabilitate himself by "reaching to God".

But the court rejected that, highlighting McKee's long history of offending since 1992.

His previous convictions included burglary, firearms offences, threatening to kill, aggravated robbery and numerous drugs charges.

He had not helped his cause during an interview before sentencing. The appellant had admitted he was a "very busy" drug dealer, would carry five cellphones just to keep up with his business and that it was stressful because he had to also keep track of money that was owed to him by people wanting drugs on credit.

The court upheld the sentence and the judges said it was up to the Parole Board to decide whether McKee was fit to serve any less than the full eight-year penalty.