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Wine-bottle-wielding mum avoids jail for aggravated robbery

11 May 2023

| Author: Jasmine Jackson

S 235(b) Crimes Act 1961 – sentencing – aggravated robbery – sentence indication – pre-sentence report – personal circumstances – rehabilitation – Zhang v R [2019] NZCA 507 – Carr v R [2020] NZCA 357 – home detention

The King v Natasha Bridget Lacy [2022] NZHC 3009

Natasha Lacy appeared for sentencing on one charge of aggravated robbery under s 235(b) of the Crimes Act 1961.

Lacy and her co-defendant robbed two people after blocking their vehicle in a remote location in Rotorua and extorting bags, cellphones, and wallets.

It was accepted that Lacy’s role was more limited than the co-defendant who punched the victims several times in the face. Lacy wielded a large wine bottle to extort property from one victim, warned her not to call the police and snatched the driver’s keys, which she then attempted to throw into a nearby paddock.

A guilty plea was entered after the acceptance of a sentence indication that two years and five months’ imprisonment was appropriate, with the possibility of a non-custodial sentence left open.

The sentence indication comprised:

  • a starting point of three years’ imprisonment for aggravated robbery;
  • one months’ uplift for previous offending;
  • a 10% discount for a guilty plea; and
  • four months’ discount for time spent on electronic bail.

After the sentence indication, the court received a pre-sentence report, a cultural drug report, and letters from Lacy and her partner, all detailing a disrupted childhood and adulthood involving gang association, drugs, and significant sexual abuse. Furthermore, the court noted that Lacy, 32, was the mother of three children aged 16, 14, and nine. Eight years earlier she had survived cervical cancer.

Both the pre-sentence report and cultural drug report identified Lacy’s rehabilitative prospects as a core consideration and assessed her as at low risk of reoffending.

In addition to the discounts provided at the sentence indication, the court provided a further 20% discount for Lacy’s personal circumstances and a reduction of one month for the additional time spent on EM bail.  his resulted in an end sentence of 21 months’ imprisonment.

The court accepted that Lacy was heavily influenced and manipulated by her co-defendant and acknowledged she had now removed herself from her relationship with him.

Furthermore, the court accepted that progress had been made whilst Lacy had been on EM bail which was encouraging. So, taking into account her role in the offending, her personal circumstances, and the objectives of sentencing, particularly rehabilitation, the court considered a sentence of imprisonment would not be appropriate and a sentence of home detention was justified.

Held: On the charge of aggravated robbery, Lacy was sentenced to 10 months’ home detention.

Jasmine Jackson is an Auckland criminal defence barrister and a member of the ADLS Parole Law Committee


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