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From NZ Lawyer August 2006
A North Canterbury Maori elder may be able to avoid serving jail time after invading a home and bashing the householder with a chair, apparently as retribution in a long-standing family dispute. Ricky Tirikatene, 36, is a horse trainer and volunteer fireman in the community at Tuahiwi, North Canterbury, and his whanau was in Christchurch District Court for his sentencing before Judge Michael Lance. The family was in tears and Tirikatene was weeping as he was led away briefly while the paperwork was done for his immediate release. "I love you, babe," he called to the back of the court.
He and his co-offender, Graham John Dyer, have two months before their 15-month jail sentences begin, to apply to the Parole Board to serve their time on home detention rather than in prison. Tirikatene had admitted charges of burglary, assault, and threatening to kill. Dyer, a 35-year-old foreman from Belfast, near Christchurch, pleaded guilty to burglary and threatening to kill. Both men expressed their regret over the incident. "There was a background of retribution relating to a perceived wrong done to the victim's child. It is a clear impression I had formed that there had been ongoing bad feeling about that," Judge Lance said.
Both men had been drinking on the day, and at 10.35pm they went to the victim's house, forced their way in to confront the man while his family was at the house. They both threatened him, and Tirikatene bashed him with a chair. He was still holding the weapon when the police arrived. Tirikatene's counsel, David Ruth, said he had handed up references which "speak volumes for this man and show how out of character it was". "He has reached an important status level within his iwi and is regarded as a senior member and elder," he told the court. Judge Lance ordered the men to undergo alcohol and drug assessment, counselling, and treatment as required as their prison terms ended. "People are entitled to be in their homes, unmolested by the likes of you, breaking in drunk, bent on trouble and violence," he said.
Date of Birth
Home invasion, assault and threatening to kill of a Christchurch man in early 2006
Sentenced to 15 months imprisonment in August 2006
Deferred for 2 months to apply for home detention
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