Teen sen­tenced to jail for two armed raids on dairy

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE - DAVID CLARK­SON

A youth of­fender will serve an adult jail sen­tence for two armed raids on a Christchurch dairy that left his vic­tim fear­ing for his safety and strug­gling to sleep.

Judge Stephen O’Driscoll told Liam Bur­rowes, in the Christchurch Dis­trict Court yes­ter­day: ‘‘Ag­gra­vated rob­beries are not games. The stakes are high.’’

He jailed the 16-year-old for three years, which will be served in the youth wing at Christchurch Men’s Prison, for the rob­beries at the Wool­ston Night n’ Day.

The judge warned fu­ture youth of­fend­ers may not be spared prison terms on their age alone.

‘‘I hope the sen­tence I have im­posed will not just de­ter you, but will de­ter oth­ers in the com­mu­nity who may be con­tem­plat­ing this per­ceived game.’’

Ag­gra­vated rob­beries – rob­beries in­volv­ing weapons or mul­ti­ple of­fend­ers – car­ried a max­i­mum 14-year jail term, and had the po­ten­tial for se­ri­ous con­se­quences for vul­ner­a­ble shop­keep­ers, Judge O’Driscoll said.

When Bur­rowes was in­ter- viewed for his pre-sen­tence re­port, he told the pro­ba­tion of­fi­cer he was sur­prised to find him­self be­ing sent to the dis­trict court for sen­tenc­ing. He had thought that if he was caught he would get the max­i­mum youth jus­tice sen­tence – su­per­vi­sion with res­i­dence.

The judge de­cided the of­fend­ing was se­ri­ous enough for an adult sen­tence to be im­posed, par­tic­u­larly con­sid­er­ing his record and his re­cent re­lease from a Youth Court sen­tence when the first rob­bery took place on De­cem­ber 3.

The first time, Bur­rowes went into the store at 4am, with two coof­fend­ers who had ham­mers. Bur­rowes car­ried a sports bag for the loot, and a small axe. Cash, cig­a­rettes, and to­bacco prod­ucts worth $1565 were taken, and the shop as­sis­tant was threat­ened with a weapon. The rob­bers wore dis­guises.

Bur­rowes went back on De­cem­ber 22 at 4.50am, again armed with an axe and wear­ing gloves, ban­danna, and hooded sweat­shirt. Cash and to­bacco prod­ucts were again tar­geted.

The same shop as­sis­tant was robbed both times. He has now been robbed four times, and the Wool­ston Night and Day has been robbed eight or nine times in to­tal.

The shop worker says he is hav­ing trou­ble sleep­ing and does not feel safe. He has not worked a night shift since Bur­rowes’ last rob­bery.

‘‘He has not told his fam­ily about what has oc­curred be­cause he is con­cerned his fam­ily may want him to leave New Zealand and go back to In­dia,’’ Judge O’Driscoll said.

He said he was not sure why that store was tar­geted so much. It may have been seen as a ‘‘soft’’ tar­get, where the shop­keep­ers did not re­sist, or sim­ply an easy way of get­ting cash and cig­a­rettes.

The judge re­viewed other cases where young peo­ple had been sen­tenced for dairy rob­beries, in­clud­ing some at the Wool­ston shop. The sen­tences had ranged from Youth Court sen­tences of su­per­vi­sion with res­i­dence – ef­fec­tively youth prison – to su­per­vi­sion with ac­tiv­ity, and one term of two years, seven months’ jail.

Judge O’Driscoll said said Bur­rowes was young but his of­fend­ing had not in­volved typ­i­cal youth be­hav­iour. There had been mul­ti­ple of­fend­ers, dis­guises, weapons, and pre­med­i­ta­tion. In his case there were two rob­beries.

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