Robber gets home detention, first 3-strikes warning

Last updated 12:00 06/12/2012

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A Picton man robbed a man at knifepoint while high on drugs the victim had given him, a court has heard.

Justin Edward Whakarau, 20, was sentenced to seven months' home detention and 150 hours' community work for the robbery, when he appeared in the Blenheim District Court on Tuesday.

He was also given his first three-strikes warning.

Judge Stephen Harrop said Whakarau and his co-offender, Saxton James McGee, met the 21-year-old victim on the Bluebridge ferry early on October 1.

The man gave the pair some BZP pills and offered to sell them some more. McGee told the man they would pay for the pills when they got to shore, and the pair then arranged to rob him, the judge said.

The group met at Waitohi Domain in Picton about 6.30am, when McGee threatened the victim with a knife belonging to Whakarau and told him Whakarau had a gun, before taking the drugs, a cellphone, bag and $50 cash from the man, Judge Harrop said.

Whakarau was under the influence of BZP and cannabis at the time of the robbery, he said.

Crown prosecutor Mark O'Donoghue said the fact that the pair had planned the robbery and used a knife as well as standover tactics in an isolated place made the crime more serious.

However, defence lawyer Rob Harrison argued that Whakarau was under the influence of drugs which the victim had given him and McGee on the ferry. He was a young man who had no similar previous offences and had made a "terrible mistake", he said.

Judge Harrop said the offending appeared to be out of character for Whakarau, he appeared to be genuinely remorseful for his actions, and had good family support, which all suggested he was unlikely to be back in court on similar charges.

However, he said an alcohol and drug report showed Whakarau had a serious drinking problem, which he needed help for as well as his drug use.

McGee admitted his part in the offending and was remanded for sentencing on February 5.

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- The Marlborough Express

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