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An Invercargill man says he thought he was going for a ride with two new friends but ended the night being involved in an aggravated robbery.
However, the explanation of Scott Malcolm Crawler for the offence did not entirely convince judge John Brandts-Giesen, who believed it was not as "accurate as it could be".
Crawler (27) was sentenced yesterday to 11 months and two weeks of home detention after pleading guilty to a charge of aggravated robbery at the Invercargill District Court.
Judge Brandts-Giesen said the charge related to an incident on June 20 last year when Crawler and two associates broke into a house of the victim in Invercargill by kicking and smashing the glass of the front door.
One of the associates, a woman, was brandishing a knife when the trio confronted the victim and demanded his car keys, the court has heard.
The man gave the keys to Crawler, who then left the property and waited in the car.
The two associates then assaulted the victim, punching him in the back of the head and mouth, and took belongings from him, including a TV, a console, a laptop and an espresso coffee machine.
Crawler then came inside and said "we gotta go". They left the property, threatening the victim.
"Don’t go to the police because we’ve got a scanner and we’ll get you," the woman said.
Judge Brandts-Giesen said when spoken to by the police, Crawler admitted the circumstances of the offence, but when speaking to a pre-sentence report writer he said he met the two associates that night while drinking and thought he would go for a ride with them to pick their car up.
This explanation did not entertain the judge.
"You may not be the ringleader in this whole exercise, but your presence and your continuous participation in this robbery gave a critical mass to what happened to this victim."
Judge Brandts-Giesen said Crawler had an extensive criminal record, mainly with offences related to crimes against property, driving or breaches of community based sentences.
Due to the hardship of his upbringing, his substance abuse and current family support, the judge decided to give him another chance to turn his life around.
Crawler had served one month of imprisonment while waiting for sentencing and Judge Brandts-Giesen hoped this experience could teach him something about how "unpleasant" prison could be.
He sentenced the man to 11months and two weeks of home detention, sixmonths with release conditions, which included having a drug and alcohol assessment, and completing any counselling or programme recommended as a result.
Judge Brandts-Giesen also ordered him to pay $1500 in reparation plus $400 in emotional harm to the victim.