A "Jekyll and Hyde-type character" has been jailed for his role in kidnapping a Wellington taxi driver.

Bronson Boudine Samson does not remember much of the August 2017 incident in which he and co-offender Jade Richard Barton, 25, attacked the taxi driver in the early hours of the morning, locked him in the boot of the car, and drove around the region for a couple of hours.

The victim later awoke in the unlocked boot and discovered the driver's seat of the car had been set on fire.

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He put the fire out with his jacket, pressed the taxi's panic alarm, and ran to a nearby house for help.

He was taken to Wellington Hospital with hairlines fractures in four levels of his vertebrae, bruising and swelling across much of his face and parts of his body, lacerations, and a strong pain in his abdomen.

The victim needed physical and occupational therapy before he could be discharged.

He told the Herald he had moved to the "best country in the world" from Iraq, for a safer life for himself and his family.

Samson, 24, earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated robbery, one of kidnapping, one aggravated wounding, one arson, and five counts of using a document for pecuniary advantage.

In the High Court at Wellington this morning, his lawyer, Kevin Preston, said Samson turned into a "Jekyll and Hyde type character when under the influence of drugs [and] alcohol".

But when not under the influence of substances, Samson had been "courteous and respectful", Preston said.

"He really does have little recollection of the incident and is thankful that it wasn't worse."


Justice Peter Churchman said the sentencing was in relation to two matters, the kidnapping and a robbery the day before, where Samson and Barton attacked two men in Petone, stealing and using their bank cards.

The judge took the kidnapping as the lead charge, saying his offending had a "profound" effect on the taxi driver, who has been unable to financially support his family since the incident.

"His life has been changed to the extent he's not been able to continue not just the occupation he had at the time, but at least for the moment, any other occupation."

Samson has a conviction from his time living in Australia, which Justice Churchman said were "disturbingly similar" in that they involved "gratuitous violence" and happened after Samson had been taking drugs and drinking.

He was held at Christmas Island before being deported to New Zealand.

Justice Churchman urged Samson to take advantage of the programmes available in prison to help combat his drug and alcohol issues.

"You are a young man, 24 years, you can still do something with your life."

He sentenced him to six years and seven months in prison, with a minimum non-parole period of three years and three months.

Barton was found guilty at trial last month of charges of aggravated robbery, wounding, and possession of a knife and imitation firearm.

He will be sentenced next week.