Court warning a first for Bay

By Sandra Conchie

A Waihi man who molested a teenage girl has been given his final "three-strikes" warning - the first offender living in the Bay to receive one.

Driver Anthony Jay Tukaki, 38, was given the warning in Tauranga District Court after he admitted one charge of burglary and two charges of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection with a female aged between 12-16.

The offences occurred in February after Tukaki entered the 13-year-old's bedroom during a visit to the property - he was not known to his victim.

Judge Peter Rollo remanded Tukaki in custody for sentencing on June 17 after giving him the final warning, required because he received his first warning in 2011 for an indecent assault committed in mid-June 2010.

The final three-strikes warning means he becomes the 18th person in the country who will have to serve his inevitable prison sentence without parole.

The Sentencing and Parole Reform Act came into force on June 1, 2010 and creates a three stage regime of increasing consequences for repeat serious violence offenders.

According to the Ministry of Justice's website since the law came into force 114 offenders convicted in Tauranga District Court have received their first warning.

Last year 61 people convicted in the same court received first-strike warnings and eight so far this year, while nationally by the end of last month 2684 people were on their first warnings.

A spokesman for Justice Minister Judith Collins said the case highlighted that the three-strikes legislation was "working well".

Ken Evans, spokesman for the Tauranga arm of the Sensible Sentencing Trust, agreed.

"The Trust believes the law is working and shows recidivist criminals they will not just get out after serving part of their sentence like the previous crazy parole system did."

Mr Evans said the community would be far safer now Tukaki was behind bars.

Last month Hastings man Elijah Akeem Whaanga, 21, was jailed for two-and-half years without parole for two street muggings in August last year, and received his final three-strikes warning, his first warning was in December 2010 for aggravated robbery.

Three-strikes law

  • Came into force June 1, 2010.

  • 40 qualifying offences comprising all major violent and sexual offences.

  • First warning issued when convicted offender aged 18 or over at the time of offence.

  • Second/final warning if imprisoned - will serve full sentence without parole.

  • Third strike offence the judge must impose the maximum penalty with no parole unless manifestly unjust.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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