A Northland teen has had his sentence for aggravated robbery cut because of the "crushing" effect a longer prison term might have.
Cornell Williams, 19, was drinking with four others in Ōtangarei in May 2019 when one of them suggested they rob a liquor store.
In disguise, they then went to a liquor store but fled after they failed to force open the front doors.
On their way back, two from the group picked up palings from a picket fence on a residential property and they drove to Kamo Super Liquor in Kamo.
One of the co-offenders threatened a customer while another used the fence paling to strike an employee who fell on to the floor and covered his head in defence.
Williams then entered the store. He jumped over the counter, grabbed numerous packets of cigarettes and put them into a bag before the fourth co-offender entered the store and took bottles of alcohol.
One of Williams' co-offenders then approached a female employee, who was hiding under a desk. He threatened her and tried to get her to tell him where the money was.
They then ran across the road and through a neighbouring property to their waiting vehicle which was being driven by a fifth co-offender.
Williams initially pleaded not guilty in the Whangārei District Court to one charge of aggravated robbery, attempted aggravated robbery, possession of cannabis, and being unlawfully in an enclosed yard.
An electronically-monitored bail was granted but he cut off his ankle bracelet and absconded.
After his guilty plea, he was jailed for five years on all charges by Judge John McDonald.
The judge did not consider Williams was vulnerable to pressure, commenting that he was "mature and streetwise".
He considered a 5 per cent discount for youth was appropriate, noting that Williams' capacity for rehabilitation was limited, given his past Youth Court matters.
Williams appealed the sentence on the basis the starting point of seven-and-a-half years the sentencing judge adopted was too high and that insufficient discounts were allowed for his youth and background as was apparent from cultural and psychiatric reports.
Crown prosecutor Richard Annandale submitted the sentence was not manifestly excessive, given the totality of the offending.
In the High Court, Justice Edwin Wylie said Judge McDonald erred in his perception that Williams was mature and streetwise.
"The age-related neurological limitations of young offenders do not manifest only in impulsive offending. The limitations can also result in a lack of forethought, a tendency to be easily led and an inability to resist peer pressure.
"While he has already been before the courts on a number of occasions, there is nothing to suggest that rehabilitation is impossible, and in my judgment, there is a risk that a too lengthy sentence of imprisonment could have a crushing effect on him given his age," Justice Wylie said.
He set aside the District Court sentence and substituted it with a term of four years, two months.