Man admits aggravated robberies
A man on trial for six aggravated robberies dated from 2006 suddenly pleaded guilty to the charges at the High Court in Christchurch today.
Francis Alan Charles Borrell, 35, who had name suppression until the guilty plea, was one of the men who robbed the Bedrock Bar staff and patrons of cash, alcohol, cigarettes and cellphones with a total value of $24,000 in 2009. Four of the charges relate to this incident.
He also admitted two knifepoint robberies on November 19, 2006, involving more than $6500.
Crown prosecutor Catherine Butchard asked Justice Christian Whata to order two health assessors reports to assess whether a preventive detention sentence would be appropriate for Borrell.
Justice Whata remanded Borrell in custody to a Crown sentencing on February 14.
Earlier in the day a co-offender to the Bedrock Bar robbery was sentenced to four years and six months' prison in the High Court.
Tama Kahurangi Tuhi, 21, drove the three men to the bar. He was armed with a knife, Borrell had an air gun, and the other offender, Dylan Tyson Amataga Tavai, who has since been sentenced to prison for three years, had a wheel brace.
Defence counsel Paul Norcross said Tuhi was not involved in the planning of the robbery, but he did hold the knife in people's faces and took things from them.
He said had it not been for Borrell's seniority, Tuhi would not have done the offending, and he was terrified of the repercussions.
Tuhi severed his ties with the co-offenders, was employed, and had no drug or alcohol issues, Norcross said. His pre-sentence report said he was genuinely remorseful, and was at a low risk of re-offending.
Crown prosecutor Catherine Butchard said the planning was not extensive, but Tuhi played an aggressive role in the robbery.
Justice Edwin Wylie said at 3am on June 20, 2009 the Bedrock bar was closing. The offenders confronted the two staff and two members of the public, and took cell phones, cigarettes, and cash off them.
The four men were taken into the office and a staff member was told to open the safe. After Borrell stuffed his shirt with money, the men were locked in the bottle store, where the offenders took alcohol.
He said the three offenders caused fear in their victims, and they were all affected. He said there was potential for a dangerous situation to arise.
He sentenced Tuhi to the prison sentence and told him to take advantage rehabilitation programmes offered there.