Robert Ivor Morgan
Sentenced to life with a 12 year non-parole period in March 2001
Due to be considered for parole September 2012
From a Christchurch Press story 03/03/2001
Two of the men who murdered Robert Harman on Godley Head will not be considered for parole until they have served 12 years in prison. Justice Young, in the High Court in Christchurch , said the killing had been planned and premeditated, and could be called callous and cold-blooded. He said it had been carried out to generate publicity and establish the credibility of a new gang, the Apache Riders. After 21-year-old Mr Harman was bashed and kicked to death when he was lured to a lonely spot on the pretext of getting him to help with a drug deal, petrol had been poured over his body and it had been incinerated. "This must have been part of the plan. I think I know why," said Justice Young. "It was to make the killing sufficiently newsworthy to ensure full reporting. It was a callous add-on to the killing, and it inevitably increased the distress to Robert Harman's family and friends."
After a week-long trial, a jury returned guilty verdicts on February 16 against Robert Ivor Morgan, 31, an escort agency director, Jamie Michael Howard, 21, and Michael David McClintock, 19, both unemployed. The three immediately received the mandatory life sentences, but the Crown yesterday applied to have the judge set minimum non-parole sentences against Morgan and Howard. The Crown case was that Morgan was the leader of the fledgling motorcycle gang, and ordered the murder of Mr Harman -- a prospective gang member -- which was carried out by Howard. Crown prosecutor Chris Lange sought a minimum non- parole period of 13 to 15 years, saying that the premeditation, the violence, and the incineration of the body made it worthy of such a sentence. Prisoners serving life sentences are usually considered for parole after 10 years.
For Howard, counsel Chris McVeigh said the publicity motive proved against Morgan, the gang leader, had not been proved against Howard. Howard had been acting "under Morgan's dominion" at the time of the killing. Kristy O'Connor, counsel for Morgan, said he had not been the primary offender. "He was convicted as a party," she said. "I submit it wasn't the motive, sinister or otherwise, that killed Mr Harman. It was a baseball bat wielded by Howard. "Justice Young said: "I have a good deal of sympathy for McClintock's position. While I have no difficulty with the verdict -- the confession he made to the police made that almost inevitable -- his role in the murder was peripheral. He was acting very much under the dominion of Morgan, and the mandatory sentence of 10 years is a very severe punishment ... Morgan initiated the crime, and Howard carried it out."
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Bashed, kicked then murdered Christchurch man Robert Harman in August 2000
Three Strikes Status
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