A man described as a “Jekyll and Hyde” character will spend 12 years in jail for a series of assaults and robberies.

Summing up the case in the Supreme Court, Mr Justice Cato said Tevita Vaka was unrepentant and there was little prospect of him being rehabilitated.

Vaka, 28, was taken to the United States by his  natural mother when he was young, but returned in 2009.

He almost immediately offended and was sentenced to two years suspended.

Six years later he became involved in a series of violent and pre-meditated attacks and robberies.

Earlier this year he was sentenced to six years for the assault and robbery of a restaurant owner and his wife.

Vaka and his accomplice Rodney Toki were convicted after a trial by jury lasting several  days.

They  were  each convicted of two counts of robbery, serious housebreaking, causing serious damage to things and two counts of common assault.

On November 28 2015 they robbed an elderly couple  Mr and Mrs Swift  who lived in rented  accommodation  near the Vuna road not far from the NZ High Commission.

Mr Justice Cato described the assault as brutal and cowardly.

Later that night they assaulted a couple in a parked car and after they fled they robbed the vehicle.

“Mr Vaka is not unintelligent, and quite able  to conduct himself in a restrained and civilized manner, but as this offending demonstrates, he assumes an altogether different personality when engaged in criminal enterprise,” Mr Justice Cato said.

“It seems he has a Jekyll and Hyde personality, and that is what makes him unpredictable and a dangerous presence in society unless he takes stock of his life and takes steps to control his antisocial behaviour.

The judge said Vaka had been engaged in three robberies, two planned and serious within about four months of each other.

“He has it seems little regard for the wellbeing of others,” he said.

Vaka’s sentence was added to the term imposed on him in January, meaning he will spend 12 years in prison.

Toki was sentenced to six years, with the last 18 months suspended.

“Like many young offenders that come before the courts Toki has, I suspect, associates who have little to do in their spare time but drink with their peers and engage in criminal offending to gain easy money,” the judge said.

“As he will now find out, money earned in this way has serious consequences.”

The main points

  • A man described as a “Jekyll and Hyde” character will spend 12 years in jail for a series of assaults and robberies.
  • Summing up the case in the Supreme Court, Mr Justice Cato said Tevita Vaka was unrepentant and there was little prospect of him being rehabilitated.
  • Earlier this year he was sentenced to six years for the assault and robbery of a restaurant owner and his wife.
  • Vaka’s latest sentence was added to the term imposed on him in January, meaning he will spend 12 months in prison.

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