A good example of the need for three strikes

The Herald reports:

The prime suspect at the centre of today’s major man hunt in the central North Island has a history of similar offending.

Dolphy Tetawhero Kohu, 24, is on the run with four other men and women after ramming a police car, shooting at the two pursuing officers at close range then fleeing in the police vehicle about 2.30am.

The rampage echoes Kohu’s criminal past that includes at least two firearms incidents and evading authorities.

Previous reports suggest Kohu has only recently been released from prison after being sentenced to 30 months in jail for shooting at a family in Whanganui.

So what is his record:

  • September 2008 – Robbed a Whanganui dairy with a sawn-off shotgun while on bail for other offences
  • March 2009 – Sentenced to 3 years 9 months prison for the aggravated robbery
  • June 2011 – Sought by police for breaching prison release conditions “over violence matters”
  • March 2012 – While on parole fired a shotgun at a family in Whanganui and spent six weeks on the run from police
  • May 2012 – Arrested in Wellington
  • March 2013 – Sentenced to 2.5 years prison for the shooting

Aggravated robbery is now a strike offence. So his 2009 conviction would have been his first strike.

His 2013 conviction would have been his second strike. He would not be eligible for parole so would only get out in September 2015.

Personally I think he should have got longer than 2.5 years for his 2nd shooting offence but judges get discretion.

However under , that discretion disappears at the third strike. If three strikes had been in place earlier, then if found guilty of shooting at police officers, he would now get 14 years with no parole.

He sounds like the sort of offender who three strikes is intended for. He has resorted to firearms within days of being released.

But Labour and Greens want to repeal three strikes, so offenders like Kohu get shorter sentences and parole eligibility even after their third shooting offence.

There is some upside. His first offence was before three strikes but his 2013 conviction would have got a first strike, so if convicted for this latest shooting, he will at least not be eligible for parole.


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