'Give me all your money or I'll smash your face in'

THE state's highest court has adjusted the jail sentence of a man convicted of bashing and robbing a man who offered him a lift home.

Leighton Maurice Houkamau was 40 years old when he and a woman had a night out at a Ruthven St pub in November last year.

Down on his luck and running low on cash, Houkamau approached another man who had enjoyed a few wins on the poker machines at the Southern Hotel the night of November 24 last year.

Houkamau noted the man's winning streak and approached him soon after, asking for some money to which he complied.

About 9pm, Houkamau agreed to drive the winner home in his car after a stop off at the fuel station.

But soon after refuelling, the man heard the car's central locking engage, effectively trapping him inside.

The man was able to open the door but when he tried to escape the vehicle, Houkamau grabbed the man by the right arm and said: "Give me all your money or I'll smash your face in."

Court documents reveal Houkamau then punched the man "three or four times on the right side of the face" before he escaped, only to be tackled to the ground, punched and kicked further.

"During the attack, the complainant felt hands reaching into the pockets of his jeans where his wallet was," the Court of Appeal file states.

His wallet was stolen and Houkamau, with his female companion and co-accused, fled the scene before police arrived.

He was later arrested and sentenced on his own plea of guilty to four years jail for robbery in company with violence and five years for causing grievous bodily harm.

Having served 45 days in pre-sentence custody, the sentences were to be served concurrently, making him eligible for parole on July 21, 2017.

But a successful Court of Appeal ruling found the District Court judge sentencing Houkamau failed to take into account the time he had served in custody before sentencing.

Now 41, Houkamau will still be eligible for parole on that date but his criminal record will reflect he was sentenced to four years and four months for the GBH.

He must serve at least 20 months in jail.


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