The controversial “three strikes” legislation has seen a young man jailed without parole and warned that if he steals another skateboard, hat or cellphone he will spend 14 years behind bars at a minimum cost to the taxpayer of $1.6 million dollars.
In issuing Elijah Akeem Whaanga, 21, his second strike, Judge Tony Adeane told the Hastings man his two “street muggings” that netted “trophies of minimal value” meant his outlook was now “bleak in the extreme”.
“When you next steal a hat or a cellphone or a jacket or a skateboard you will be sent to the High Court and there you will be sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment without parole.” Judge Adeane said.
[Whaanga] committed two aggravated robberies with two separate accomplices.
The first involved taking a skateboard, hat and cigarette lighter from the victim after trying unsuccessfully to remove the victim’s jacket. The second involved Whaanga kicking the victim in the back of his leg and taking his hat and cellphone.
Justice Minister Judith Collins said the case showed the law was working. Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Garth McVicar agreed, saying the sentence of two-and-a-half years’ jail with no parole at a cost to the taxpayer of $300,000 was “fantastic”.
It’s a nice illustration of how dumb it is for politicians like Judith Collins to showboat with the justice system by legislating away judge’s ability to decide sentences. It doesn’t matter if Whaanga beats someone so badly he sends them to hospital or just tries to pull their jacket off them, the sentence is the same. 14 years.