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Before an aggravated robbery committed at the end of last year, the defendant had been out of trouble for three years and had graduated from a polytechnic building course.
He had a severely disadvantaged background and had taken huge steps forward, counsel Anne Stevens QC said yesterday.
Paul-Michael Marsh (45), had been convicted of aggravated robbery, assault with a weapon, and unlawfully possessing a firearm, on December 21 last year.
He had pleaded not guilty. But a judge-alone trial in July resulted in Judge Jim Large finding the charges proved.
The judge acknowledged Marsh had made and taken huge steps in the three years before the offending.
"It’s sad you didn’t continue in that way. But you stepped back and sideways. It was not just a wheel coming of the trolley. It was the whole trolley going off the road," he told him at sentencing in the Dunedin District Court.
Outlining the offending the judge said Marsh, wearing a hoodie and balaclava, entered a South Dunedin address brandishing a .22 sawn-off rifle and made a 16-year-old hand over a wallet. He told the boy not to muck around, then hit him several times about the head and body with the butt of the rifle and took $100 from the wallet, and some prescription pills.
Crown counsel Craig Power said the robbery involved a number of blows with a weapon to the head and body of a young person, "and also punching". Marsh was significantly older and bigger.
The offending was premeditated.
Marsh had 20 previous convictions for violence.
He should face a significant custodial sentence, Mr Power said .
Mrs Stevens said Marsh had been in custody "approaching a year".
His severely disadvantaged background included many years of a abuse as a child. Among the difficulties flowing from that were addiction issues. He had been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.
Judge Large noted that in a letter of apology to the victim Marsh said he did not want to minimise his offending towards him by offering reasons, "rather take full responsibility for the role I played and the harm I caused ... I was wrong and deeply regret my actions".
Marsh was sentenced to five years and six months’ jail, reduced from seven years and three months by credits for background issues, his apology, and his rehabilitative efforts in the three years in which he was not offending.