Two synthetic cannabis robbers have been jailed but a Linwood store owner remains worried that the third robber who confronted him with two knives has never been caught.
The third robber of the R-18 store in Stanmore Road had to run away on foot because the getaway driver, Marcus Raphael Hatcher, only picked up one robber before driving off.
The two in the car were arrested when the police stopped the vehicle in Fitzgerald Avenue soon after with most of the stolen property inside it, but the pair have never disclosed the identity of the third masked robber.
The robbery took place on the night when Parliament passed legislation banning synthetic cannabis, just 40min before the midnight deadline.
Hatcher, 31, went into the store to make a purchase, and then came out and drove the getaway car while the other two went inside to do the robbery. Eighteen-year-old Isaiah Herbert grabbed money from the till while the unidentified robber held the shop owner and a security guard at bay with two knives.
Herbert grabbed between 25 and 30 packets of B-52 Berry Bomb synthetic cannabis and put the packets inside a shopping bag. Each packet was worth about $30.
Both eventually pleaded guilty. When Hatcher pleaded guilty on October 21, he was remanded in custody and some LSD tabs were found under the inner-sole of his shoe. He pleaded guilty to possession of that drug too, and it earned him a little extra jail time. He said he had been going to take it into prison to try to “make a friend” to get some respite or protection.
Crown prosecutor Sara Jamieson told the court: “The victim remains concerned to know that there is one person outstanding and he was the person who had the knives.”
Neither Hatcher nor Herbert were obliged to assist the police and tell them who it was, but the matter should be taken into account in deciding how much reduction they should get on their sentences.
Judge David Saunders said: “There has been an impact on the victim and I am required to have regard to that. For this victim there will be that on-going concern that there is another person who you must know, who has not been held to account.”
Hatcher’s defence counsel Andrew McKenzie said Hatcher showed remorse and insight and now understood why his partner had decided it was best to leave with their children. He urged that a home detention sentence be imposed. “His kids need a dad, and he is keen to provide for them.”
Herbert’s defence counsel Paul Norcross said Herbert was polite and respectful and had written a letter of apology to the victim. “There is good in this man. If his behaviour can be changed he may have some more prospects in life.”
Judge Saunders considered whether a restorative justice conference could now be held, even though the store owner had so far declined to take part. He urged the men to take part in the rehabilitation programmes available in prison.
He jailed Hatcher for two years five months on charges of being a party to armed robbery, two burglaries, intentional damage of a cellphone, and possession of LSD. Because of Herbert’s greater role, he jailed him for three years five months for the aggravated robbery.