Al-Mobarak Al-Enezi appears in the Auckland District Court for sentencing. He admitted participating in a violent Halloween night armed home invasion in New Lynn in 2021. Photo / Michael Craig
A violent home invasion in New Lynn on Halloween night two years ago “terrified” the lone occupant as six armed strangers forced their way inside and helped themselves to her valuables.
A desperate methamphetamine addiction spurred by “scarily cheap” access to the drug overseas was the motivation for the youngest of the alleged assailants, a judge heard today as details of the incident were revealed for the first time.
“You were simply fried out of your brain,” Auckland District Court Judge Kirsten Lummis told Al-Mobarak Al-Enezi as she sentenced the 23-year-old to four-and-a-half years’ imprisonment. “You were just wanting to get more money to get more drugs.
“It’s very clear how this offending was driven by the methamphetamine habit you had at the time.”
CCTV cameras filmed the October 2021 incident as two vehicles – one stolen – pulled up to the Astley Ave flat around 5.45pm. A man who lived at the address was outside and, recognising trouble, ran to his car and drove away as the men tried to stop him by brandishing a gun and hitting his vehicle with a hammer, court documents state.
He left his partner alone inside the dwelling.
“The group of six offenders went to a locked back door and attempted to enter the flat,” according to the agreed summary of facts for the case. “One of the offenders announced, ‘Police, search warrant!’ They then moved to a front door at the flat as [the victim] was attempting to escape and lock the door behind her.
“[She] was accosted by some of the group, and she left the front door unlocked.”
The men grabbed a laptop, a camera and other items before leaving in the two vehicles. But police caught up to Al-Enezi’s vehicle in Ranui a short time later, finding a sawn-off shotgun in the driver’s side footwell, as well as a non-functioning gun that fired blanks, a hammer, a Taser and multiple rounds of ammunition.
Al-Enezi admitted the “old-school wooden shotty” was his but said he intended to sell it to his cousin for pig hunting.
He could have faced up to 14 years imprisonment for burglary with a weapon, up to four years for one count each of unlawful possession of a firearm and of ammunition and up to three years for unlawful possession of the Taser, which is considered a restricted weapon.
“It’s pretty easy to see that six men carrying weapons ripping up to your house would be a pretty terrifying experience … especially [for] the female victim,” Judge Lummis said. “It’s not hard to see how that would have been a petrifying experience for her.”
She referred to a cultural report outlining how Al-Enezi moved to New Zealand from Kuwait at 3 years old then reluctantly returned overseas with his parents at age 17. While he had been a regular cannabis user, he developed a meth habit while in Kuwait because it was cheaper and easier to get hold of that drug there, he told the report writer.
He became a gang member for a few years upon his return to New Zealand and continued to feed his habit, but now he is trying to give up both gang membership and meth use, he told the judge in a letter in which he thanked the court for his incarceration because it has allowed him to clear his head.
“I know that you deeply regret what happened that day,” the judge said, adding that a prison sentence was nevertheless necessary for a crime of that magnitude.
Although six men were seen on CCTV, only three men have been charged with burglary. Two other alleged participants have pleaded not guilty and await trial.
Craig Kapitan is an Auckland-based journalist covering courts and justice. He joined the Herald in 2021 and has reported on courts since 2002 in three newsrooms in the US and New Zealand.