Son who robbed with mother paroled

A Dunedin man who committed two armed robberies with his mother has been released on parole despite being deemed to have a high risk of reoffending.

Joshua Karl Smith (30) was jailed for five years in July last year.

He was granted early release at the first opportunity when he appeared before the Parole Board last month.

While Probation assessed Smith as being at high risk of harming others and committing further crimes, panel convener Judge David Mather was satisfied he could be safely released on to a rehabilitation programme.

"On balance ... we have reached the view that risk issues can be adequately addressed if he is released now on a range of special conditions,'' he said.

Smith left Otago Corrections Facility last week to enter the programme, which would address both violence and addiction issues.

His mother, Joanne Francis Smith, was sentenced to six years and three months' imprisonment for her role in heists committed with her son in 2017.

The first robbery the pair committed together took place in July at The Fitz sports bar in Christchurch.

In the second incident, they targeted the Law Courts Hotel in Dunedin's Stuart St.

They arrived shortly before midnight, both in dark hoodies and masked.

While the lone staff member busied herself closing up, the mother and son hid under a table in the restaurant.

As she returned to the office, Mr Smith flashed a knife near her throat and demanded she put cash in a backpack - more than $16,700.

They told the victim to go to the toilets and count to 100 before she came out.

Smith had a significant criminal history, stretching back 13 years, that included convictions for driving offences, breaching sentences and sexual offending against a young person.

Measured against that, the Parole Board said, was his "horrendous background'' of neglect and psychological upset.

"That has obviously impacted seriously and adversely on his life course since,'' Judge Mather said.

While behind bars, Smith had completed the drug treatment programme and staff had commented positively about his attitude.

He had also completed the Brainwave course, the Skills For Dads programme and a first aid course.

"He has shown commitment and application to all the courses available to him,'' Judge Mather said.

The conditions of Smith's parole included:

  • Not to possess alcohol or drugs.
  • To inform Probation of changes to employment.
  • Not to contact co-offenders.
  • To attend any programmes as directed by Probation.
  • To live at an address approved by Probation.
  • Not to contact any victim of offending.
  • To submit to electronic monitoring and abide by a 9.30pm-6.45am curfew.
  • To attend a monitoring hearing in March 2020.


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