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Pair avoid jail after Masterton robbery

Two people involved in a prolonged Masterton robbery that left the injured victim $1300 out of pocket, have avoided prison.

In a decision published last month, High Court Justice Cheryl Gwyn sentenced Trent Te Ahu Josh Petersen to home detention and Leanne Hema to intensive supervision for their respective roles in a 2020 robbery.

Justice Gwyn said the pair’s early guilty pleas and personal circumstances were mitigating factors in her decision.

In her summary of the offending, the Justice said Petersen and Hema had admitted robbing the victim in Masterton on November 30, 2020.

She said Hema knew the victim, who had previously driven her from the hospital, and arranged for him to meet her at an address in Masterton.

Upon arrival, she persuaded the victim to exit the car, removing his keys from the ignition, after which he was confronted by Petersen and an associate.

“Mr Petersen, you accused the victim of having ripped off a Killer Beez gang member, with whom you have had some association.”

Justice Gwyn said the associate punched the victim in the face and stomach, while Petersen demanded his cell phone, cigarettes, and wallet.

Petersen and Hema then drove the victim to an ATM forcing him to divulge his pin number, and then transfer money to the account after the first withdrawal attempt failed.

“Fearing for his safety, the victim did so.”

The victim asked twice to be allowed to leave. However, he was only given permission after driving Hema to and from a liquor store.

Justice Gwyn said the victim suffered bruising to his head and stomach and, in a victim impact statement, detailed the significant financial loss of being robbed of $1300.

“He also describes the loss of trust, anxiety, and paranoia he has experienced and the fear he still has for his safety, especially when going to Masterton.”

Crown prosecutor Hamish Hancock sought $1300 in reparation and argued for a prison sentence for Petersen due to the seriousness of the crime and recurrent offending.

He said that given it was Hema’s first serious offence, a sentence less than imprisonment could be considered.

Petersen’s lawyer Ian Hard said the robbery clearly lacked planning and sophistication and, despite the gang element, his client was no longer an active gang member. He sought a sentence of home detention for Petersen [26], who was responsible for supporting a family and two young children.

Hema’s lawyer Phillip Allan argued for intensive supervision for his client, given her minimal role.

Justice Gwyn said a starting point of two years and two months imprisonment was appropriate for Petersen, while a starting point of 16 months imprisonment was adopted for Hema. She said a 20 per cent discount would be given to each for their early guilty pleas.

Justice Gwyn said pre-sentencing reports made it clear the pair had suffered from dysfunctional upbringings, marred by significant stress and sometimes violence, with limited emotional or cultural support and, as a result, granted a further reduction of 15 per cent.

Petersen was sentenced to eight months home detention, prohibited from consuming drugs or alcohol, and ordered to pay $650 in reparation and attend counselling as directed.

Justice Gwyn said Hema had made significant changes to her lifestyle and was engaging with probation. She sentenced Hema to 12 months intensive supervision, and ordered her to pay $650 in reparation, and attend counselling and treatment programmes as directed by probation.

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