R v GL [2020] NZYC 636

Published 13 October 2021

Sentencing — application to transfer to District Court — aggravated robbery — supervision — residence — mentoring — Oranga Tamariki Act 1989, ss 4, 4A, 7AA, 208, 283, 284, 334 & 335 — New Zealand Police v SD [2018] NZYC 169. This was an application to transfer the young person to the District Court for sentencing, pursuant to s 283(o) of the Oranga Tamariki Act ("OTA"). The young person had committed a series of aggravated robberies of liquor stores with some other youths. The Court had to consider the hierarchy of responses in s 283 and impose the least restrictive outcome unless, given the circumstances, it was clearly inadequate. The young person was over the age of 15 at the time of the offending so was at an age where transfer could be considered. In determining whether to transfer a young person from the Youth Court to the District Court, the Court had to take several factors into consideration. This was to be done having consideration to the youth justice principles in s 208, and the recently-enacted s 284(1A). Under the second provision, the Court had to take into account: the seriousness of the offending; the criminal history of the young person; the interests of the victim; and the risk posed by the young person to other people. The spree of offending had involved firearms and the Judge determined the seriousness to be in the middle range of this type, as there had been no actual violence. To ensure parity, the Judge looked at the outcomes of the other offenders: one was aged 17 at the time of the offending and had been transferred to the District Court for sentencing; two of the others were 16 at the time of offending and had received four months' and six months' supervision respectively. The offending made a significant impact on the victims, but in cases of youth offending the young people were often not in a position to pay reparation to the victims. However given that the young person here had already been in custody for some 10 months it could not be said he was getting away with the offending. The young person had a criminal history including aggravated robberies, and his personal history was one that had seen him exposed to violence, drugs, alcohol, gangs and criminal activity growing up. A social worker's report showed that the young person had participated in programmes during his previous period of supervision. The Judge considered that the options available in the Youth Court were adequate to deal with the young person's offending and declined to transfer the young person to the District Court. The Judge made an order for supervision and residence, and an order that mentoring was to occur on the young person's release from residence. Judgment Date: 9 December 2020. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *