Tutera Hohepa Te Moana
Otago Daily Times, May 2009 here
Security was beefed up at the High Court in Wellington today for the trial of a Hastings man accused of attacking partygoers at a 21st birthday. Michael Prebble, 20, pleaded not guilty to five charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm after an attack on partygoers at a property in Bridge Pa, southwest of Hastings, on June 21 last year.
Four Mongrel Mob co-accused George Hapuku, Paul Ropiha, 35, and John Blane, 32, and Mob associate Tutere Te Moana, 18, all pleaded guilty to the same charges earlier this year. Five partygoers suffered horrific injuries, including stab wounds, fractured bones and a partially-severed thumb, in the attack by the men, which involved a machete, knives, a baseball bat and at least one pole or baton, the court was told today.
Crown prosecutor Steve Manning said Ropiha became enraged after he and Hapuku arrived at the party around 11pm and were turned away. The pair left in their Subaru station wagon, rounded up a group including Prebble, Te Moana and Blane and went to Ropiha's house to collect weapons, before returning to the party and starting a fight. Mr Manning said Prebble was a party to the group's plan to injure the partygoers, even if he had not inflicted any of the injuries.
"He took part in what was essentially a group attack. He is as guilty as the people who inflicted the wounds." Mr Manning said carloads of accomplices blocked off the ends of the street to prevent people leaving or entering the area, but the case before the court focused on the five men in Ropiha's car. Defence counsel Eric Forster said Prebble had remained in the car during the fight, not wanting to get involved after discovering the group's plan.
Te Moana, called as a witness by the Crown, had difficulty remembering whether Prebble left the car, or what sort of weapon Prebble might have used in the fight. He said he was the first of the group to enter the property, but had run back to the car after being hit over the head by a partygoer, to find Prebble sitting in the car boot and the doors locked. After questioning from Mr Manning, Te Moana said he remembered giving Prebble a knife to fight with, and seeing Prebble running alongside him from the property back to the car.
When reminded of his police statement, in which he had said Prebble had a pole and was with him on the property when he was hit over the head, Te Moana then agreed that that was the correct version of events. He said he had gone to the party "for a fight", but he hadn't known who the fight was with, or the reason for it. The trial, before Justice Warwick Gendall, is set down for three days.
Date of Birth
Wounded five people causing them grevious bodily harm at Bridge Pa, near Hastings in June 2008
Three Strikes Status
Sentenced to five years in May 2009
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OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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