Teen told to mend her ways or face jail

Last updated 07:15 14/11/2012

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A Blenheim teenager who helped beat up a man and steal his car has been sentenced to nine months' home detention.

Rochelle Fitzsimmons-Tasi, 17, of Mayfield, had admitted a charge of aggravated robbery after dragging the man from his car and helping a friend beat him up on July 26.

Co-offender Ashley Collins, 17, also admitted the charge and will be sentenced on December 4.

In Blenheim District Court yeterday, Judge Tony Zohrab said Fitzsimmons-Tasi and Collins had eaten dinner with the man before convincing him to drive them to the Taylor dam. On the way, the pair were texting each other, arranging to rob the man, he said.

Defence lawyer Rennie Gould said the incident and the arrest had been a wakeup call for Fitzsimmons-Tasi. She had since enrolled in an education programme and was looking to move on with her life. She had already spent four months effectively on home detention because of her strict bail conditions, she said.

Crown prosecutor Emma Riddell said although the Crown did not oppose home detention, the sentence needed to be a long one to reflect the seriousness of the crime.

Judge Zohrab said Fitzsimmons-Tasi had written a letter of apology to the court, but he warned her it was easy to say she was sorry and keen to change.

He urged her to back that up with her actions or face prison.

"If there is any violent offending from you in the future you need to understand the gloves come off sentencing-wise and your age will not be a factor in preventing you being sent to prison."

Also in the court yesterday:

Jason Adam Beckford, 44, a vineyard worker of Riversdale, admitted charges of assaulting and threatening to injure a 17-year-old and possession of cannabis and was remanded for sentence on January 28 on those charges and an earlier charge of misusing a telephone by threatening to blow up a Work and Income office.

Jenna Mary Roderick, 31, of Picton, admitted a charge of fighting in a public place and was convicted and discharged.

Defence lawyer John Holdaway said the charge arose from an incident in which Roderick went to the Picton skate park on August 5 and got into an altercation with some young people she believed had attacked her daughter.

Charges of threatening to injure, assault with intent to injure and assault were withdrawn after Police prosecutor Sergeant Mark Lucas said the young people involved had made up the allegations. There was an altercation between Roderick and the young people, but nothing to support the more serious charges, he said.

John David Wright, 44, of Koromiko, admitted breaching a protection order and was sentenced to 80 hours' community work.

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Jeff Tavita, 35, unemployed, formerly of Auckland, appeared on two charges of assaulting a female and a charge of misusing a telephone and was remanded to reappear on November 26 to apply for legal aid.

Wayne Arthur Todd, 41, of Blenheim, appeared on two charges of assaulting a 3-year-old and was remanded to reappear on November 26 to apply for legal aid.

- The Marlborough Express

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