R v Soane [2018] NZDC 12482

Published 13 June 2019

Sentencing — aggravated robbery — wilful damage — assault with intent to rob. The defendant appeared for sentence on two charges of aggravated robbery, one of wilful damage and one of assault with intent to rob. He had robbed three dairies in six days while armed and in the company of co-offenders. The defendant assaulted two of the dairy proprietors while robbing them, and had also deliberately damaged a display stand in the other robbery. Aggravating features of the offending were the use of weapons and actual violence, and also the significant amount of money and goods stolen in the robberies. The defendant had pleaded guilty but had shown no real remorse. The Court started with a four-year sentence and uplifted it by two years for the second aggravated robbery charge. The Court then applied discounts for guilty pleas and youth, so the final sentence was five years and three months' imprisonment. Judgment Date: 21 June 2018. In this pretrial matter, the Crown applied to have the defendant's statement to police ruled admissible. The defendant objected to her statement being admitted on the grounds that she had not received her Bill of Rights caution and advice in a timely manner, and that she had not had the opportunity to review her formal notebook statement to police. Police had been called to an incident involving the defendant, and began to make inquiries. In response to an open question from one of the constables, the defendant had appeared to admit to drunk driving. The police then cautioned and advised her. The Court found that the police had delivered the caution and advice as soon as they had enough information to suspect she had committed an offence. Therefore the objection on the Bill of Rights grounds failed. The defendant had then given a police interview which the police had recorded in a notebook. A police practice note states that where interviews are taken by notebook, the defendant must be given the opportunity to review the written interview and either confirm the contents as accurate or to make any alterations that the defendant thinks fit. The defendant was not given this opportunity. The Court could find no good reason for why this breach occurred. The Court also found no good reason to admit the evidence under s 30 of the Evidence Act and ruled the evidence inadmissible. Judgment Date: 15 March 2018.