Trio jailed for aggravated robbery

BELINDA FEEK
Last updated 14:08 19/12/2012

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Three men who robbed a Hamilton dairy of cigarettes have been sentenced to at least four years in jail.

In the Hamilton District Court this morning, Judge Peter Spiller sentenced Angelo Wilson, 32 - described as the ringleader - to five years' three months' jail.

He sentenced Cedric West, 21, to five years' jail and first-time offender Kenneth Tahana, 22, to four years' jail after the robbery of the K-Road dairy on Killarney Rd last year.

Of the three, West expressed the most remorse and insight into his offending, his counsel Mike Curran said.

West had been ''candid'' in his pre-sentence interview, but realistic that his criminal history - two aggravated robberies in 2008 - would count against him.

West had a sad background and had no ''support in the community''. He served ''every single day'' of his three year sentence in jail for earlier crimes because he had no home to go, Mr Curran said.

''And that support hasn't materialised now, either. He will have enormous trouble when he come before the parole board (after serving a third of his sentence),'' he said.

Tahana was new to the court system, while Wilson - who still denies any involvement in the aggravated robbery - had a lengthy history.

''Wilson maintains his innocence and does not accept responsibility. His position is denial and he still maintains that this morning,'' Wilson's counsel Wayne Dollimore said.

But police used text messages between the trio which described the ''hit'' to take place, using that evidence to build up their case.

The trio were in Ngaruawahia about noon on July 29 last year when West borrowed a white people-mover vehicle from a friend and drove to Hamilton.

West and Tahana disguised themselves with balaclavas. West armed himself with a pistol ,and Tahana  with a screw driver, before they were dropped off near the K-Road dairy.

The pair entered the shop and West pointed a gun at the attendant, while Tahana clambered over the shop counter.

He grabbed the female worker by the collar and pulled her towards him, demanding money and pushing the screwdriver against the victim's neck.

He then, unsuccessfully, tried to break into the cash register.

West also jumped over the counter and, along with Tahana, grabbed several packets of cigarettes and tobacco before fleeing to their getaway vehicle. Their car was then stopped by armed police approaching Ngaruawahia, where police found a black balaclava, cigarettes and clothing. 

Judge Spiller said their were no mitigating features for Wilson, but took into account Tahana's clean history, and West's insight and remorse penned to himself and the victim.

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- Waikato

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