Dairy robbed after gang threats

Two young dairy robbers, one armed with an imitation pistol, said they had been threatened by senior and intimidating gang members, and had to pay back a debt they owed for drugs.

Naish’N Morgan, and Rubi Jayde Barker, both 20-year-olds, were sentenced on a charge of aggravated robbery of the Dallington Discount Dairy on January 29.

Two other offenders, one armed with a knife in the incident, were dealt with through the Youth Court.

Defence counsel for Barker, Phillip Allan, said Barker thought the plan to rob the dairy was not going to involve violence, and the imitation firearm was for intimidation so they could get in and get out in a hurry.

He said their motivation was that they were under pressure from senior and intimidating gang members, who had threatened friends, flatmates, and family.

Barker was 19 at the time, had written a letter of apology to the victim, and asked for a restorative justice meeting, but the victim declined.

Mr Allan said Barker was quite affected when they read the victim impact statement.

Barker had made significant efforts at rehabilitation, and had a probation officer as a support person.

Tom Stevens said Morgan had had a difficult upbringing, with no assistance or guidance, and suffered from  foetal alcohol syndrome. He said associations and alliances in prison could send him on the wrong path, and change him for the worse.

Judge Kevin Phillips said three of the four offenders walked into the dairy on Avonside Drive with their faces covered. The other person stayed outside as a lookout.

They swept tobacco products into a carry bag and some energy drinks were taken. When they were leaving the building they were confronted by a man who had been at the house adjoining the dairy.

Morgan pointed the imitation pistol at him, then struck him in the head with it.

Everyone ran away in different directions, but were followed by members of the public, and all were located and arrested.

He said Morgan had no prior convictions, and Barker only had driving convictions.

The victim lost $700 business while the shop was shut up for the investigation, and it was the fourth time it had been robbed. The business was a family one, and the man was nervous and vulnerable, Judge Phillips said.

The robbery of small suburban dairies was prevalent in this Christchurch, he said, and this offending was planned and premeditated.

Morgan was read the first of the three strike warnings for repeat violent offenders, as Barker had already received the warning at the last appearance.

Judge Phillips said Morgan was of good character until he entered the shop, and he sentenced him to two years’ prison with leave to apply for home detention when an address became available. He also imposed an emotional harm reparation payment of $300.

Barker was remorseful and had worked hard on rehabilitation since the offending, Judge Phillips said.

The offender did not take a weapon and was not involved in any violence.

He imposed eight months’ home detention, 180 hours’ community work which can be converted to training, and emotional harm reparation of $300.

Both offenders will have to do programmes recommended to them by their probation officers.