Two Napier men have each been sentenced to more than three years for a home invasion in which they robbed four strangers during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The penalty for Judas James Rarere and Gary Dudley Tuhi - sporting gang-linked clenched-fist facial tattoos they say they may have removed as they try to put the past behind them - also include extra time for breaching conditions of the lockdown in the raid in the late afternoon of April 23 last year.
Appearing before Judge Bridget Mackintosh today in Napier District Court and having pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated robbery as well as the alert level 4 breaches, Rarere was sentenced to three years and five months in jail, while Tuhi, who faced a second charge of breaching the restrictions, was sentenced to three years five months and two weeks.
Particular claims of change were made by defence counsel James Ranger, saying that Rarere had come from an appalling background and to "get up off the canvas" and become enrolled at the EIT was "exceptional".
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"He's done that," said Ranger, adding there was also a tutor at the EIT who appeared to be strongly supporting his achievement.
Provided cultural background reports in addition to other pre-sentence reports, Judge Mackintosh noted the gang culture in which each had grown-up, the indications they'd had enough, were considering having facial tattoos removed and were looking for support to make change.
She said the victims of the robbery were not directly known to either man, but the background issue related to a sale of cannabis to a niece of one of the men.
They entered the house and, armed with a knife, ordered the four occupants to the floor. Rarere held the knife and threatened the occupants as Tuhi gathered items from the house and also "kicked" threateningly on the floor around the victims before the pair left in a waiting vehicle.
Judge Mackintosh said intimidating factors were that there were three intruders (one of whom hadn't been identified), threats accompanied by the brandishing of a knife to people in a dwelling, and references to gangs, which she said were clear with the tattoos sported by both men.