Robber gets his prison wish

MIKE WATSON
Last updated 05:00 17/09/2011
CRAIG BLAIR: Refused help and suffered from depression, lack of motivation and laziness.
CRAIG BLAIR: Refused help and suffered from depression, lack of motivation and laziness.

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A Rotorua bank robber has been granted his wish to return to prison – but only because the sentencing judge believed he posed a risk to the community if he remained free.

Craig Andrew Glen Blair had only been out of prison from a previous bank robbery offence for five days when he decided he could not cope living on the outside.

He had spent all his money on release on alcohol and had lost contact with his immediate family, his lawyer Tim Barclay told the Rotorua District Court.

Blair, 43 made a calculated decision to reoffend just enough to be able to be sent back to jail, he said.

Blair, who had already served a 2 1/2 year sentence for robbing the National Bank in Te Puke in 2008, held up the Westpac Bank in Rotorua in June this year.

He waited in the queue and then approached the teller demanding money, saying he had a gun in his bag.

After being handed a "modest" $1140, Blair walked 400 metres to the Rotorua Police Station to give himself up.

He was arrested and charged with robbery and pleaded guilty in July.

At sentencing yesterday Judge Phillip Cooper said Blair had refused any rehabilitative assistance available to him on his release.

He also made no attempt to contact his immediate family, which included his adult children, for help.

While no weapon was found in Blair's bag, and no violence was used, the bank staff were left traumatised by the experience.

Blair had now committed two bank robberies for the sole purpose of being sent to prison because he could not live on the outside, the court heard.

A pre-sentence report said Blair suffered from depression, lack of motivation and laziness.

"It might be punishment enough not to send you back to prison but your determination to continue offending in order to be imprisoned meant the community is at risk if you are not jailed," Judge Cooper said.

Blair was sentenced to two years and nine months jail.

As he was on his second strike Blair must serve the full sentence without parole, and is not entitled to an early release.

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- The Dominion Post

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