Mum and son pub robbers jailed

A “Mommy and Clyde” robbery team have been handed lengthy jail terms for their raids on pubs in Christchurch and Dunedin.

Joanne Smith, 48, was jailed for six years three months for three robberies, and her son Joshua Karl Smith, 29, went to prison for five years for his role in two of the raids.

For Joanne Smith, two robberies of the Fitz Sports Bar in Cashel Street, Christchurch, were insider jobs – she was the duty manager who arranged one robbery by her son, and another by “persons unknown”. She acted as though she was a frightened victim. In one case, she left a door unlocked for the robber.

Joshua Smith admitted carrying out one of those robberies, and another robbery at the Law Courts Hotel in Cumberland Street, Dunedin, again with his mother, and with his partner Alana Hayley Cairns, 25, who has been separately jailed for three years.

Joanne Smith appeared in the Christchurch District Court dock, while her son was appearing by video-link from Dunedin. The mother appeared unwilling to turn to look at the screen.

Judge Raoul Neave said he saw it as an aggravating feature that she had involved her son in the offending.

“There is evidence that he is prepared to do anything to please her, though she has done precious little to deserve it,” said the judge. He believed Joshua Smith may have been manipulated by his mother.

The pre-sentence report revealed his horrendous background of abuse, neglect, and psychological upset.

Judge Neave detailed the knife-armed robberies in July and October 2017 in Christchurch, and in December in Dunedin. Victims would take some time to shake off the effects of the offending, and Joanne Smith’s employers and co-workers felt betrayed by her.

The judge made no reparation order because it was unrealistic. Some money had been recovered, from the total of $104,700 taken in the three robberies.

Crown prosecutor Sophia Bicknell Young said the robberies had caused a large impact on the victims, and Joanne Smith’s letter showed limited remorse for them. The Crown also said that Joshua Smith had been on bail on other charges when he did the robberies.

Defence counsel Kirsten Gray said Joanne Smith was “incredibly contrite” and had deep feelings of embarassment and shame. She intended to use her time in prison constructively.

Dunedin lawyer Anne Stevens said the psychological report showed damage had been caused to Joshua Smith at an early age, which had an effect on his judgment and how he responded to stressful events.

Joshua Smith had also admitted other charges including intentional damage, assault, and cannabis dealing.

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