Hastings 18-year-old Fairmont Ropata Wairama dobbed himself into police by wearing a GPS tracker when he robbed a liquor store, two days after being sentenced to home detention for another robbery.

In Napier District Court on August 24, Wairama had avoided jail by being sentenced to 12 months' home detention.

But he told police after the second robbery on August 26, while wearing his home detention bracelet, that he did it because he wanted to be in prison with his brother.

The detail unfolded today in the Hastings District Court where Wairama pleaded guilty to robbing an Angus Inn bottle attendant while armed with two knives on August 26, and another charge of breaching the conditions of home detention which had been imposed for his role in a Mobil Havelock North petrol station hold-up on April 23.

Action on the night of the Angus Inn bottle store robbery. The offender was arrested two days later. Photo / File
Action on the night of the Angus Inn bottle store robbery. The offender was arrested two days later. Photo / File

In the latest raid, Wairama had let down his sister - whose support he had needed to be granted home detention at her address in Karamu Rd South - by telling her he was going outside for a smoke.

She did not realise Wairama took two knives from the kitchen without her knowledge, crossed the street and the railway track to rob the bottle store in Railway Rd, a few hundred metres from the Hastings Police Station.

Brandishing the knives he robbed a worker of a till drawer and $260 in cash and fled.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Dean Goodall told the court that while Wairama wasn't at his sister's address when police arrived soon afterwards, GPS data from the electronically monitored ankle bracelet fitted on the Friday afternoon tracked his path to the scene and then to where he cut it off a few minutes later.

It was after being apprehended two days later that Wairama told police he did the robbery because he wanted to be in prison to be with his brother.

Appearing via audio-visual link from Hawke's Bay Prison, Wairama pleaded guilty through lawyer counsel Matt Dixon, who conceded to Judge Geoff Rea some bemusement over Wairama's use of a bandanna to hide his face, when with GPS tracking his every move the mission was doomed to failure.

Remanding Wairama in custody for sentencing in the Napier court on November 30, Judge Rea issued the robber a first warning under the three-strikes law, although it was not his first robbery, nor his second.

In addition to the August 26 raid, and the robbery in April, using a car stolen from outside a Havelock North address and allegedly committed with at least two other teenagers, Wairama had appeared in the Youth Court in relation to another robbery.


At sentencing on August 24 relating to the service station hold-up, Judge Bridget Mackintosh found Wairama ineligible for a first-strike warning at that time because he had been aged under 18 years when that offence was committed.

Targeting violent offences, including robbery, the three-strikes system was brought in by John Key's National Government in 2010, meaning an offender would be warned upon conviction for the first time on a qualifying offence, a second violent offence would mean a sentence without parole, and the maximum available penalty, also without parole, would be applied to a third.

It took eight years before the first third-strike sentencing, a man in August copping the maximum seven years for wounding with intent to injure, but Labour Coalition Minister of Justice Andrew Little has signalled plans to repeal the law under which the sentencing took place.

At least 11 people aged 18 are facing courts in Hastings and Napier for bottle store, service station or dairy robberies in the past five months.

They include Wairama and his associates in the service station raid in Havelock North, three awaiting sentencing for the robbery of the Z Kennedy Rd station in Napier in mid-August, and five, including a 12-year-old, for a September 3 robbery in which an attendant at the Big Barrel Stortford Lodge bottle store was stabbed several times, allegedly by an offender aged 18.