An Auckland robber has been sentenced, under the controversial three-strikes law, to prison for more than twice as long as the sentencing judge would have given him if the three-strikes law had not been in place.

But, the judge did not impose the 14-year maximum sentence with no possibility of parole because it would be manifestly unjust.

George Christopher Pomee, 24, was sentenced today by Justice Mathew Downs in the High Court at Auckland for kidnapping and two charges of aggravated robbery.

It was his third strike.


The three-strikes law requires a person convicted of a third serious violent, sexual or drugs offence to be sentenced to the maximum available sentence without parole, unless the judge finds it would be "manifestly unjust".

Pomee, who has links to the Head Hunters gang, received his first strike and one year and 11 months' imprisonment after two robberies in November 2013, including that of a 67-year-old woman who was withdrawing money from an ATM.

His second strike and 16 months' imprisonment was for an aggravated robbery in April 2015 when - armed with a piece of wood - took a 16-year-old's bank card and phone and demanded the pin code for each before emptying his bank account.

Then after his release in August last year, Pomee and his associates robbed two men in their car.

They stole a packet of cigarettes, $55 in cash and a mobile phone.

Just six days later, Pomee and his two co-offenders offended again in parked next to their victim, this time a tourist.

The group kidnapped him and drove him to an ATM about 10 minutes away where they demanded cash and his watch.

While there, one of Pomee's associates punched the man three to four times in the face, and again demanded his watch and ring.

After handing the jewellery over the victim was driven further about and Pomee demanded he give him the pin to his phone.

"You showed him a magazine containing .22 calibre ammunition," Justice Downs said.

"You said: 'You see this? I'm going to kill you'."

The car was stopped and Pomee and a co-offender repeatedly punched the victim in the head.

A call to police resulted in officers arriving and seeing Pomee leaving the car.

"Someone who should have enjoyed his time in this country was terrorised," Justice Downs said.

"I have read the victims' statements. They were terrified. One described nightmares for months after you robbed him. And, hypersensitivity."

George Pomee, 24, was sentenced today for kidnapping and two charges of aggravated robbery. Photo / File
George Pomee, 24, was sentenced today for kidnapping and two charges of aggravated robbery. Photo / File

Pomee, who has a three-year-old daughter, has 16 previous convictions, including 10 for dishonesty.

Justice Downs, however, said if it were not for the three-strikes regime he would have sentenced Pomee to six years and three months' imprisonment.

"I would also have imposed a minimum period of at least 50 per cent," he said.

"Against this background, I am satisfied parole ineligibility for the duration of the mandatory sentence of 14 years' imprisonment would be manifestly unjust.

"While your offending is serious, the sentence of 14 years' imprisonment is significantly longer than anything you have received to date."

But Justice Downs was satisfied a period of more than the minimum one-third of a sentence was necessary to denounce Pomee's offending and to protect the community.

"On each charge, I sentence you, as I must, to 14 years' imprisonment," he said.

"I fix the minimum period at five and a half years - approximately 40 per cent of your mandatory sentence."

In August, a Whanganui stabber was the first offender to be given the maximum sentence without parole available under the three-strikes law.

Minister of Justice Andrew Little has expressed his desire to repeal the law, which came into effect on June 1, 2010 after a deal with the National-led Government and Act Party.

The current Government, however, ditched its planned repeal after objections by New Zealand First.