Sunday, March 7, 2010

Time for Tip Top Thugs

The Tip Top Dairy in Blenheim was one of the many, many small businesses that were terrorised by armed robbers last year but some measure of justice has been dealt out after two of the people responsible were given jail sentences on Thursday for the parts they played in the crime.

Quade Ross Honey, 21, and Rex Randle Chapman, 18, who used a boning knife to threaten the store's owners Lin Yang and Haw Jiang, were sentenced to three years and two years eight months respectively for the robbery that bagged them $1,600 worth of tobacco products and confectionery.

Both men were already serving sentences for previous crimes when they attacked the dairy. According to the Marlborough Express:

" Honey had 12 convictions from 2007 to 2009, including burglary, assault, possession of a knifecannabis charges. In May last year he was sentenced to community work and intensive supervision – a sentence he breached by committing the robbery, Judge Barrie said."
Intensive supervision? that was effective. 
"He said Chapman had an "apprenticeship in dishonesty" as a youth, and last year committed a street robbery, for which he was sentenced to community work and supervision in December."
That was as equally 'effective.'
"Meanwhile, a third man allegedly involved in the robbery will appear in court on March 29.
Johnny Harvey Wiremu Baker, 18, is charged with waiting in a car outside the dairy and driving Chapman and Honey away after the robbery.

He has denied the charge but has pleaded guilty to breaching an earlier sentence of community detention by intentionally removing his security bracelet. "

Yet the two career criminals only got short prison sentences, with parole they're likely to be back in the community within months. What's the present maximum penalty for armed robbery?...14 years? Who'd be a shop keeper in Blenheim, especially Lin Yang and Haw Jiang who have been through so much recently? They've lived in NZ 13 years, six of them in Blenheim at the Scott St shop. They moved from Christchurch after a dairy they owned there was robbed by a man with a gun.
"Christchurch is not safe," Ms Jiang said. "And now here is not safe."
There is some merit in the "Three strikes and you're out" law after all , at least the streets of one small town would be a lot safer. Under the proposed law second time offenders won't get parole, their length of stay will be up to the sentencing judge to determine. Third time and they're hit with a maximum sentence: no parole, no discretion.

Perhaps if these mongrels had that sort of penalty hanging over their heads it will be more of an incentive for them to keep their noses clean than picking up litter for a few hours every week?

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