NZ Herald background story here
From Gisborne Herald story here October 2004
More of the gang members involved in last year's Wairoa courthouse fight have now been sentenced in Gisborne District Court. On Tuesday the 14 Mongrel Mob defendants charged in relation to the fight appeared before Judge David Wilson, QC, after 33 of their Black Power rivals appeared the day before.
Each faced a charge of unlawful assembly and, like their rivals, were relieved of a more serious charge of participation in a criminal group, which was this week dismissed by Justice Laurenson in the High Court at Gisborne. One of the defendants, Joseph Gemmell, 33, pleaded guilty to an additional charge of unlawful possession of an offensive weapon — a spade — with intent to use it to commit bodily injury.
Crown prosecutor Denys Barry said the maximum penalty for the charge was a year in prison. All those present at the fracas, apart from those on additional charges, were equally culpable, he said. Imprisonment was appropriate and a starting point for sentences should be between three and nine months before taking into account mitigating circumstances, Mr Barry said. Earlier, when sentencing 18 of the Black Power members, the judge handed down terms of community work.
Sentencing Mongrel Mob members on Tuesday, he gave prison sentences to three of the four who pleaded guilty, but commented that it was in recognition of the time they had already spent in custody on the charges. That remand time would be counted in the sentences and most were now eligible for parole. Had he not now pleaded guilty, Joseph Gemmell, 32, unemployed, might have been jailed for 15 months, the judge said. Instead, Gemmell was sentenced to 10 months on each of the two charges he faced. The court heard that Gemmell had already been in custody for seven months.
Allan Thomas Hubbard, 37, unemployed, who spent about seven and a half months in custody, received a four-month sentence. Mr Barry said Hubbard received severe head wounds during the fight so was clearly involved. Hubbard had been aggressive and unco-operative with police. Christopher Turei, 34, unemployed, received five months, which might have been seven had it not been for his guilty plea, the judge said.
Counsel Philip Jensen said that Turei had been in custody for about 10 months but conceded that Turei was prone to breaching bail conditions. An application would be made to have Turei's fines remitted as further acknowledgement of the lengthy custodial remand time, Mr Jensen said. Turei's guilty plea had been one of convenience. Although Turei might well have been aquitted of the charge at a trial, that would have meant him waiting in custody for longer than the maximum applicable sentence, Mr Jensen said.
Ronald Rangi Rigby, 42, unemployed, who had been held in custody for about five months then subject to strict bail conditions, was sentenced to 100 hours community work. Mr Barry said Rigby had been seen fighting and had yelled incitement to fellow Mongrel Mob members. Judge Wilson said though none applied for it, he would not have allowed any of the defendants leave to apply for home detention.
Another Mongrel Mob member, Mana Albert Te Kahu, 19, who had served about six months for possession of an offensive weapon – a .22 calibre rifle, was sentenced to nine months reduced from a starting point of 15 months. Mr Barry said the firearm was found at the Mongrel Mob's Wairoa headquarters around the time of the gang fight. Te Kahu had, by his own admissions, brought it to police attention and there was nothing to suggest that it might have been one used in the fatal shooting after the fight, Mr Barry said.
Date of Birth
Involved in a huge fight outside the Wairoa courthouse in November 2003
Previous convictions for assault etc
At large in Wairoa
Mana Te Kahu
Sentenced to five months in October 2004
Released December 2004
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OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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