Christchurch Press story 11/10/2006
A judge has granted what he called "a considerable amount of mercy" for a West Coast teenager's jealousy-fuelled attack that put a man in hospital with a broken eye socket. Judge Brian Callaghan jailed talented footballer Manu Weepu for two years but granted him leave to apply for home detention. Weepu was regarded as a talented winger when he played in the West Coast's third division side in rugby's NPC competition in 2004 as a 17-year-old, and he played centre for Wellington in last year's rugby league Bartercard Cup competition. Weepu, now 19, was found guilty at a Greymouth jury trial three months ago of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to injury. He had claimed self-defence but this was rejected by the jury. He had considerable family and iwi support for his sentencing in Christchurch District Court today. Family members and Weepu himself wept as the jail term was imposed. Judge Callaghan ordered Weepu to pay $6000 to the victim for financial losses and emotional harm.
Defence counsel Richard Bodle said that with the family's help, a payment of $2500 could be made almost immediately. Mr Bodle said Weepu, a pest eradication worker, was a first offender. "He has done three months in jail very hard." Weepu wrongly believed the victim had his eye on his girlfriend and took him down an alleyway to talk to him. While the man was urinating, Weepu punched him in the head, breaking his cheekbone and eye socket, causing his eye to sink. A plate and screws had to be inserted to lift the eye up. The victim still suffers from tiredness and lack of concentration. Judge Callaghan noted that the "powerful" conference between the pair and their families had allayed any fears of ongoing ill feeling or retribution. Prosecuting, Andrew McRae said the attack was too serious for supervision, and a prison sentence was required. He jailed Weepu, granted leave to apply for home detention, and ordered him to undergo assessment and treatment for drug and alcohol abuse, and anger management.
Date of Birth
1987 (D.O.B. is approximate)
Three Strikes Status
Sentenced to two years in October 2006
Also ordered to pay $6000 in reparation.
Released statutorily July 2007
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