A man who threatened terrified pharmacy staff with an imitation sawn-off shotgun before taking money and drugs has been jailed for four years three months.
Family members in the public seats at the Christchurch District Court called out their thanks to Judge Raoul Neave, apparently for making allowances for Jonathan Allen’s mental health issues, remorse, and willingness to take drugs treatment.
Defence counsel Rupert Glover said Allen, 35, of no fixed abode, was keen to go for drug rehabilitation at Odyssey House if it could be arranged.
Allen committed the robbery on November 19, at the Waltham Pharmacy.
He walked in wearing overalls, a hard hat, and mask and armed with an imitation double-barrelled shotgun that he had made himself.
It had appeared real and the staff were terrified, said Judge Neave. Pharmacy staff required special protection.
Allen got away with $190 cash and drugs worth almost $1000 but was found nearby.
The judge noted his lengthy history of offending including another aggravated robbery in 2009.
He pleaded guilty to the latest charge as soon as reports about his psychiatric issues had been completed.
The judge said he was in a strong and supportive relationship and had proved that he could function at a proper level. In this case he had succumbed to some peculiar stresses that were acting upon him at the time.
When Allen pleaded guilty in April, police said he told interviewing officers that he had been forced to leave his home and had lost his benefit. He had no money and had been desperate to supply finance for his partner and six-month-old child.
Judge Neave read him a first-strike warning under the system that imposes heavier penalties on repeat violent offenders.