Teen jailed for two years for planning taxi robbery, bashing

Author
Hawkes Bay Today,
Publish Date
Fri, 21 May 2021, 3:40PM
The robbery happened when the taxi driver answered a call to Brookvale Rd, Havelock North. (Photo / File)
The robbery happened when the taxi driver answered a call to Brookvale Rd, Havelock North. (Photo / File)

Teen jailed for two years for planning taxi robbery, bashing

Author
Hawkes Bay Today,
Publish Date
Fri, 21 May 2021, 3:40PM

A teenager with almost no previous criminal record has been sentenced to two years' jail for his part in a robbery in which a taxi driver was bashed in Havelock North last year.

According to a summary in Napier District Court today, 19-year-old Kaleb Rauwiri Elijah Isaac Hawkins at first declined to make a statement after police found him almost four months later, but later said it was he who planned the robbery, made the phone calls luring the driver into the trap, and then drove the getaway car.

But with two others arrested, Hawkins did not identify at least one other offender among what was believed to be 4-5 attackers.

The robbery happened when the 47-year-old driver answered a call to Brookvale Rd, Havelock North, about 12.40am on September 20.

He was initially cautious when two men appeared out of the dark beside his vehicle, but he unlocked the door to let them get in when they confirmed the name in which the call had been made and showed the driver cash they had for the fare.

Once in the car, one in the front and one in the back, they began punching and restraining the driver as he tried to call for help.

The summary said 2-3 others arrived and joined-in the assault, which ended as the men fled with the driver's wallet, cash and tablet after the driver managed to raise the alarm.

Other drivers and police arrived and the driver was taken to hospital where he underwent surgery on a broken nose and a broken eye socket and was treated for other injuries during a confinement of 3 days.

Quoting from a victim impact statement, Crown prosecutor Steve Manning told Judge Gordon Matenga the driver had said: "This was the worst night of my life. I thought I was going to die that night."

The driver said later the attack had changed his life, the sight of him with his injuries had distressed his wife and child, and he would "never be the same again".

Defence counsel Alan Cressey said it seemed the robbery may have been a bit more "random" than the involvement Hawkins claimed, and asked the Judge to take into consideration the admission, remorse, and youthfulness.

Saying that with prison sentences "you don't know what you're going to get out the other end", Cressey asked the judge to consider home detention as an alternative.

The Judge ordered the teen to pay reparation of $400 – a third share of the driver's financial cost, and granted leave to apply for home detention at a later time.

Like Hawkins, second teenaged offender Rikirangi Watene has pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated robbery, and awaits sentence on July 22, while third accused Sunjit Singh, 23, has pleaded not guilty and awaits a trial.