Robbery trio get reduced sentences

Last updated 13:12 12/12/2012

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Kaikoura

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Three people involved in a plot to steal $6000 from a man who thought he was buying drugs from them in Blenheim have had their jail terms reduced.

Tan Ropitini had his jail term cut frodrm 10 years to nine years, and his minimum jail term of five years quashed. The sentence was on six charges relating to three incidents.

Tai Gorrie had his jail term cut from five years to four years, and Rebecca Foster had her jail term cut from two years six months to two years and one month.

Ropitini was the organiser of the plot, while Gorrie and Foster played a role in the unsuccessful robbery on February 9.

Ropitini and two other men assaulted another man in Kaikoura later that day in connection with the $6000 "deal", and three months later he and Gorrie were involved in another robbery.

Three Court of Appeal judges said the sentencing judge for Ropitini took too much account of his previous offending and the fact he was on bail during the May robbery, and said that he should have received a discount for personal circumstances.

They also said a minimum term of half his sentence wasn't required for his offences, and the best incentive he had to change his life was a chance at an earlier parole.

Gorrie's term was cut because the sentencing judge seemed to have overlooked that he wasn't involved in the second February 9 incident, while they said Foster's original term didn't reflect the secondary part she played in the attempted $6000 robbery.

At the sentencing, defence lawyer Rob Harrison argued Foster was unaware of the first robbery until it was happening and then simply did as she was told by the others. Because her sentence is still more than two years, Foster will still have to serve her sentence in prison.

Co-offenders James Raymond Marzola, 28, and Nioulini David Fotu, 27 did not appeal.

Fotu was sentenced to seven years and eight months in prison with a minimum non-parole period of three years and nine months, while Marzola was sentenced to six years and six months with a minimum non-parole period of two years and eight months.

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- Kaikoura Star

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