Teen jailed for street robbery

A teen who threatened to slit his victim's throat during an aggravated robbery in Dunedin last November has been sentenced to two years' jail.

Zenyata Thomson, 17, of Dunedin, admitted robbing the victim while on supervision for an offence of "striking similarity" a year earlier.

Thomson was sentenced by Judge Kevin Phillips in the Dunedin District Court last week.

The teen was charged jointly with two others, who were dealt with in another court, and had admitted robbing the victim of a bag, jacket and phone on November 14 last year.

He was 16 at the time.

Thomson also faced re-sentencing on another aggravated robbery committed in Dunedin on November 3, 2013.

On that matter, he had been charged jointly with another defendant, also dealt with in another court.

Reviewing the facts of last November's robbery, Judge Phillips said Thomson and two associates were milling around in Oxford St when the victim was walking home alone, about 11.15pm.

As the victim passed, Thomson approached with a blue bandanna covering his face.

Standing in front of the victim and producing a screwdriver 20-25cm long, Thomson said "give me everything, give me your iPad".

Holding the screwdriver threateningly and pointing it at the victim, who thought it was a knife, Thomson said he was going to slit the victim's throat.

One of his associates took the victim's backpack and jacket, and told the victim not to "snitch".

The other associate was standing watch.

The three left the scene together and were found hiding in a bush soon after.

The victim suffered shock but was not injured.

Defence counsel John Farrow told the court Thomson said he was affected by alcohol and the spur of the moment incident was a chance passing on the street. Thomson accepted he had a weapon and there was a threat.

He achieved early release from a residential part of sentence on the 2013 matter.

Thomson had had a difficult upbringing.

Judge Phillips said when Thomson committed the offence he was still serving the supervision part of a sentence given in the youth justice jurisdiction for the aggravated robbery in 2013.

Crown counsel Marie Grills was correct, the judge said. Both charges were very serious.

The offending showed a total disregard for people's rights or liberty. And there was a striking similarity between the two offences.

Thomson's background could only be described as "appalling", the judge said.

Pre-sentence material said he had been exposed to alcohol and drugs since he was 11, and violence had been part of his life from early days.

Thomson continued to minimise his involvement and would transfer blame where possible.

He rejected people trying to help him.

His ongoing violent behaviour was alarming.

Thomson was sentenced to two years' jail, with standard and special conditions for six months past the sentence end.


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