Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Appeal dismissed for 'Bonnie-and-Clyde' criminal

Donny Falakoa was jailed for 13 and a half years in October. Photo: Supplied
Donny Falakoa was jailed for 13 and a half years in October. Photo: Supplied

A man jailed after a seven-month crime spree which ended after he fired shots at police while fleeing at 160km/h has had an appeal against his sentence rejected.

Donny Falakoa was jailed for 13 and a half years in October on a raft of charges including unlawfully getting into a motor vehicle, assault with intent to rob using a firearm, using a firearm against law enforcement, theft of a motor vehicle, reckless discharge of a firearm, failing to stop for police and driving in a dangerous manner.

Over a six-month period he committed a number of very serious offences starting with the aggravated robbery of commercial premises in which the occupants were threatened and assaulted. He then stole a vehicle and led police on high-speed chase, deliberately ramming a police car twice and injuring one person.

He was finally arrested after another police chase through suburban Tauranga during which he fired shots at police.

Donny Falakoa sentenced for crime spree

Falakoa appealed his sentence on the basis that the judge did not give him an adequate discount.

"The sentencing Judge took a single starting point of 17 years and six months' imprisonment," a Court of Appeal decision released today stated.

"He then settled upon a global discount of 25 per cent. This covered the guilty plea, Mr Falakoa's remorse and his mental health state at the time of offending.

"The end sentence was therefore 13 years and six months' imprisonment."

Falakoa believed the discount should have been 30 per cent.

"It is submitted that if Judge Blackie had allocated individual amounts to each of the three components, this higher figure would have been obtained," the decision stated.

The Court of Appeal assessed Falakoa's appeal and dismissed it.

"Our assessment is that the 30 per cent Mr Falakoa seeks on appeal, far from being mandated by the circumstances, could well be seen as unduly lenient," it said.

"A total discount of 25 per cent is a common enough response to cases involving both guilty pleas and the other matters of mitigation. There is nothing in Mr Falakoa's situation to suggest a different response was required. The appeal against sentence is dismissed."

- NZ Herald

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