Steven Kenneth Rogers
From a Taranaki Daily News article 13th June 1998
ONE of two men involved in the "vicious, sustained and premeditated" attack on a Wellington taxi driver in March was jailed for nine years when he appeared in the High Court at New Plymouth yesterday. Steven Kenneth Rogers (18), unemployed of Eltham, had previously admitted kidnapping taxi driver Kanti Panchal (47), wounding him with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, robbing him of his personal satchel, and unlawfully taking his taxi - all in the early hours or March 15. Justice Morris, Auckland , said the incident, which occurred in several parts of the greater Wellington region, was one of the worst of its kind. It was a premeditated, vicious and sustained attack.
Mr Panchal was beaten almost to death and would not have survived the brutal attack if it had not been for the emergency surgery he underwent. "His life has been effectively ruined, and his family has been torn asunder. "The effects of what you have done have caused grief to many people, including those of your own family," the judge told Rogers in sentencing him to nine years' jail for the kidnapping and causing grievous bodily harm, five years' (concurrent) for the aggravated robbery, and convicting and discharging Rogers for unlawfully taking the taxi.Defence counsel Craig Stevenson said mitigating factors were Rogers' early guilty pleas, his genuine remorse, his young age and his reluctance to be involved in the robbery, coupled with the fact that he did not use the hammer to bludgeon Mr Panchal.
However, Crown prosecutor Tim Brewer told the court that Rogers had been an active participant that night. He had agreed to the plan to rob a taxi driver and had worn gardening gloves to avoid detection. He had also taken a rope, which he used to tie up Mr Panchal and to gag him. The plan was to rob him, tie him up, and toss him into the sea after stealing cash from him. About 11pm on March 14 they left their address and went to Courtenay Pl where they approached, quite at random, Mr Panchal and asked him to drive them to Manor Park , in the Hutt Valley , but later told him to stop in Silverstream. Mr Panchal recalled hearing Rogers repeatedly saying to his associate, "Do it, finish him off" - something he often had nightmares about.
From a "A Life for a Life" by David Garrett, Hazard Press 1999
Dinesh Manoharan and a co-offender needed money to pay the rent. They decided that a taxi driver would be an easy target. When they set out to commit their crime they took a rope, a gag, and pepper spray to confuse police dogs. They wore gloves to avoid leaving any fingerprints. They also took a hammer to use on the victim. They hailed Mr Panchal's taxi and told him to drive to a deserted spot. There they attacked him with the hammer, dragged him onto the ground and kept hitting him until they believed him to be dead. The attack ceased only when the hammer became embedded in the man's head.
Although Mr Panchal did not die, he will never recover from what Justice Potter called a "vicious and inexplicable crime"). Mr Panchal suffered complete loss of vision in one eye, and his other now has only extremely limited vision. He could never meet the requirements for even a private driver's licence, and certainly not the higher standard required for driving a taxi. Mr Panchal and his family's lives have effectively been destroyed. His attackers are not murderers only because he was 'lucky' and survived.
Date of Birth
The kidnap, robbery and grevious bodily harm of taxi driver Kanti Panchal in Eltham in March 1998
Sentenced to nine years in June 1998
Released April 2004?
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OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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