Jamie Roy McDougall
Christchurch Press story 28th July 2006
A young couple's anguish at being bashed and robbed in a dark alley came through at a Christchurch District Court sentencing where three of their teen attackers were jailed. The couple had been dropped off by a taxi at 1am and were walking hand-in-hand along an alleyway to their Addington house when they were set upon by four youths armed with a large stick.
Some or all of the youths were affected by drugs or alcohol, or both. The woman was grabbed and forced to the ground with a knee in her back. Her breast was grabbed painfully in the struggle, causing bruising. Her head was forcibly turned away so she could not see her husband punched and felled and bashed about the head and body with the stick. A bag holding cellphones, wedding photos and other items was ripped from him and the muggers ran off.
They left behind a couple still struggling with the aftermath of the attack six months later. They were in court today to see Judge Phillip Moran describe the youths' actions as "an unprovoked and mindless piece of thuggery". He told the couple he hoped the sentencing would give them some closure and let them take a small step towards their rehabilitation. The judge said the woman had been a happy, outgoing teacher's assistant, in a happy and loving relationship.
That relationship has now been compromised, she has given up her job, and she is clinically depressed. She has post traumatic stress disorder, is hyper-vigilant and fearful. Her husband feels humiliated and ashamed that he was unable to protect his wife from the attack. Before the court were Jamie Roy McDougall, 17, a cable installer, Huikoma Mitchell, 16, and Tehau Herewhini Riehana, 17, a temporary worker, all charged with the February 4 armed robbery.
The fourth youth is still to be dealt with. McDougall and Mitchell were also for sentence for another attack on a youth in the central city two weeks later when they beat someone in a fast food outlet. The case had been sent from the Youth Court for sentence in the district court. Defence counsel Siobhan McNulty for Mitchell, said he was deeply ashamed of the allegation that he had grabbed the woman's breast during the robbery, though the charge had since been dropped.
Staff at the Youth Justice Facility described him as respectful and protective towards women and this was out of character. He was a gifted sportsman, and intelligent in spite of having had no formal education since intermediate school. He had written a letter of apology to the victims. Alistair James said McDougall was ashamed and remorseful and had job prospects. He had no previous convictions and understood the effects of his offending.
David Ruth said Riehana had only minor previous convictions for violence, but accepted that he had been involved in a group activity on this occasion. "His life has been blighted by the use of substances." Judge Moran took their age and guilty pleas into account, jailing Mitchell for three-and-a-half years, McDougall for two-and-a-half years, and Riehana for two years and eight months.
He told their families in court that he regarded them as victims too, because the youths were being jailed. "It saddens me; it saddens you." And he told the couple who had been robbed that he hoped the three standing in the dock did not look as fearsome as they did in a dark alley on a night in February.
Date of Birth
Assault and robbery of a young Christchurch couple in February 2006
Also attacked another youth two weeks later
Three Strikes Status
Sentenced to 2 years 6 months in July 2006
Due to be considered for parole May 2007
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