A woman who took part in the "thuggish" aggravated robbery of two Argentine tourists in a road rage attack has damaged New Zealand's international reputation, a court has heard.
Kaylah-Maree Fern Terei, 20, of Hokitika was sentenced today in Greymouth District Court to nine months' home detention and 250 hours' community work. The tourists had been travelling through South Westland when their car was forced to stop and they were set upon by Terei and another man on June 24.
"These were visitors to our country, entitled to our hospitality," Judge Raoul Neave said. "Instead they were met with thuggish brutality.
"This does no credit to our country and zero credit to you. It was a terrifying experience for visitors to New Zealand."
Terei is jointly charged with Cadyn Kirt Ryan, 22, of assaulting the two visitors and robbing them of a laptop computer and a sum of United States currency, at Whataroa. The money and computer were recovered when police arrested the pair later that day.
One of the reasons that Judge Neave stepped back from a prison sentence was that Terei had agreed to give evidence against Ryan at his trial. Terei was a passenger in a car driven by Ryan, who took exception to the tourists', stopping their car near Whataroa and attacking them.
The Argentine driver had slowed up to 30kph for a stretch of roadworks when Ryan passed his vehicle. Later, on the open road, the tourists passed him, enraging Ryan. They cut off the visitors' car, Terei wrenched open the driver's door and Ryan punched him about the head.
When the woman tourist got out of the car Terei punched her in the face and then took the keys from the car and threw them into a paddock.
Terei's two-year-old child had been upset by the incident so she pulled him from the car, thrust the weeping child towards the tourist and said: "What are you going to do to fix this?"
She then demanded money from their victims, taking all their cash and also the laptop, before warning the tourists not to call police and leaving. The victims thought the incident was over but a little later Terei and Ryan returned, demanding the password for the computer.
Judge Neave gave Terei a 'three-strikes' warning, noting that another conviction for violence would be met with a prison sentence and she would not be eligible for parole.
- The Greymouth Star