Teen admits street robbery

A teenager who admitted taking part in an armed street robbery has avoided being given a first-strike warning because he is too young.

Chinyanta Mfwembe Chinyanta was only aged 17 when the robbery took place in Fairview Street, Somerfield, in the early morning of January 23.

The age limit for the three-strikes system that imposes heavier penalties on repeat violent offenders is 18.

Chinyanta pleaded guilty to the aggravated robbery charge before Judge Tony Couch in the Christchurch District Court and was remanded on bail for sentencing on December 11.

Judge Couch ordered a pre-sentence report that will assess his suitability for home detention, and referred the case for a possible restorative justice meeting with his four victims.

Crown prosecutor Sean Mallett said the four victims were walking along Fairview Street about 12.30am when a car stopped a short distance ahead of them.

Chinyanta and a younger offender got out. The other youth pointed a black pellet-gun at the victims, and Chinyanta produced a set of bolt cutters from his sleeve. He pointed the bolt cutters at one victim and said, “I’ll zap you.”

The other offender told the group to drop their valuables on the grass verge and they did that, putting down their cell phones, and a portable speaker.

The pair picked up the items and drove away in their car. The property was found at the younger offender’s address the next day.

Chinyanta said he had got out of the car with the bolt cutters but said he did not intend to threaten anyone and was unaware that the younger offender was going to commit the robbery.

The other offender has been dealt with in the Youth Court.

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