Aggravated robbery leaves victim with fear of strangers

Involvement in the early morning  aggravated robbery of a student in Hyde St nearly a year ago brought two teenage males for sentence in the Dunedin District Court this week.

Zenyata Thomson, then aged 19, and Ruamano King, then aged 17, had admitted the February 19 offence. A third male, charged jointly with them and, like them, described in the fact summary as "unemployed", also pleaded guilty and was sentenced in June last year. Appearing before Judge Kevin Phillips, Thomson and King were also being dealt with on other matters — Thomson on convictions for possessing cannabis (21g) for sale, assault, theft, wilful damage (graffiti), and receiving (a laptop computer); and King on convictions for two burglaries (commercial premises in the CBD), and two thefts. 

The aggravated robbery brought Thomson his second "strike legislation" warning. King had no previous convictions. Crown counsel Richard Smith said Thomson and King played similar roles in the aggravated robbery. Their part was secondary to that of the principal offender "who certainly led the way" and was sentenced in June. 

Counsel Sarah Saunderson-Warner said Thomson had written a letter of apology to the victim. Thomson had a difficult history.

"Sadly, at his young age, he has been institutionalised."

A significant changing point during his time in custody has been the birth of his first child. He was motivated not to return to prison, Ms Saunderson-Warner said. Counsel Adriana Pinnock, for King, said it was acknowledged the victim had been left in fear of strangers. King expressed remorse.

King had had a difficult upbringing.

"He tends to stay out of trouble under his mother’s supervision."

"He has been on a 24-hour curfew and has managed for the best part of a year not to get into trouble."

Thomson, whose previous history included aggravated robbery, was sentenced to one year and 11 months’ jail.

King was sentenced to four months’ community detention (curfewed 7pm-7am daily), 18 months’ intensive supervision (with judicial monitoring), and 125 hours’ community work. 

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