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15 Year Old Sobs After He Is Jailed For Five Years

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, April 24 NZPA - Fifteen-year-old Peter Kerson Konui sobbed loudly as he hugged his family and friends one by one before he began his five-year jail term.

He went to jail for arson, armed robbery, and a sword attack that left a man with 312 stitches inside and outside the slashes in his arm.

It is the maximum term that can be imposed on such charges for a youth sent up from the Youth Court for sentencing as an adult in the District Court, Christchurch Court News website reported.

Konui is the second offender to get a five-year term for this night time raid on a Cashel Street flat by three armed robbers.

In spite of his age, Konui apparently took the leading role in the raid. The trio had armed themselves with a meat cleaver, an axe, and a sword.

Defence counsel David Ruth said the $8000 arson of a garden shed and its contents was inexplicable apart from being a sign of someone in the grip of a serious drug and alcohol addiction.

He said home detention was ruled out because Konui had been up-front with the probation officer who prepared the pre-sentence report. The teenager doubted his own ability to do the sentence.

Konui had pleaded guilty to charges of armed robbery, wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, arson, injuring with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, driving with excess breath-alcohol, intentional damage, and assault with a weapon.

"The facts were such that it would have been inappropriate for the Youth Court to deal with the matter," said Christchurch District Court Judge Stephen Erber at the sentencing today.

The three youths went to a flat in Cashel Street at 9.30pm on October 14. At the earlier sentencing, the judge said the three believed they were raiding a "tinnie house" selling cannabis. There were six people at the flat at the time.

Konui demanded money and then he and another intruder searched the house and began removing items.

When one of the occupants objected, Konui stabbed him in the abdomen with the sword, causing a minor puncture wound.

Another occupant who tackled one of the intruders was then also attacked by Konui who slashed him three times on the forearm and palm. He needed urgent surgery.

The victim had nerve damage to his arm and it could be permanent.

"The courts are increasingly worried, as I imagine members of the public are, that young persons are becoming frequently involved in cases of serious offending," the judge said.

He noted Konui had left school at age 13 and his home life "leaves a great deal to be desired". He had a heavy alcohol and cannabis problem.

He took into account his age, his guilty pleas and his clean record.

But the judge said it had been a home invasion by three men in disguises, armed with seriously dangerous weapons and serious and likely permanent injury had been caused.

"The upshot of all this, I am afraid Peter, is that you are sentenced to five years imprisonment."

He made no reparation order because it was unrealistic, but he did impose a six month disqualification from driving.

A woman in the public seats stood up as the sentencing ended to ask, "May I be allowed to hug my brother before he goes?"

The escort staff with Konui allowed it and a series of tearful hugs followed for all his supporters in court.

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