Anthony Alfred Afu
NZ Herald story here and here
Sunday Star Times article 7th July 1996
ONE of the youngest people charged with killing a person in New Zealand is likely to end up in an adult prison, despite a High Court judge's efforts to keep the youth away from hardened criminals. The case has prompted a senior official with the Commission for Children to call for a review of the way juveniles are kept in custody. Anthony Alfred Afu, now 16, was sentenced to four years for the manslaughter of John Wahanui after a drinking session in an Auckland garage. Afu turned 14 just a few weeks before he beat his victim to death with a plank of wood. When sentencing Afu last year in the Auckland High Court, Justice Noel Anderson said the teenager should be given the chance of release from a youth jail before joining the adult prison system.
"The sentence should not be so long that the prospect of working to redeem yourself looks hopeless, nor so long that there is an avoidable risk of your being contaminated by the violent attitudes of older and dangerous men in an adult prison environment," Justice Anderson said. "The sentence of four years imprisonment, having regard to the year in custody you have already served, ought, if you continue to make progress, allow you to be paroled before your 17th birthday. "However, Afu was told three weeks ago that his remand time would not be included in his sentence as it was spent in Christchurch's Kingslea Secure Unit, not a prison. He was informed that on his 17th birthday in May next year he would be sent to an adult jail for at least another 12 months before he could be eligible for parole.
Anna Ah Kuoi, a former social welfare officer who has been acting as an advocate for Afu, said the clear intentions of the High Court judge had been circumvented. "Anthony's going to serve a longer term than an adult," she said. "He really is in danger. There's been a lot of good work gone into him, now it feels it's been for nothing. He's left in limbo. "Ms Ah Kuoi said she had approached numerous agencies and government officers trying to find out who was responsible for carrying out the wishes of a sentencing judge. "Once upon a time a judge could say something the department (of Justice) would jump, now the department takes no notice of what a judge says," she said. "I really don't know what to do about it, or who to take it to. "Children and Young Persons Service spokesperson Sue Lytollis said Afu would have to hire a lawyer to take any concerns back to the sentencing judge.
She said social workers with the service had been trying to find a lawyer for Afu and were also asking for directives from the Department for Courts about the sentence. Department for Courts spokesman Geordie Cassin said the department had no responsiblity beyond handing the sentencing notes and a warrant to the institution where the prisoner would be jailed. "We simply provide the administration and the facilities for cases to be heard," he said. A senior researcher with the Commission for Children, Dr Gabriel Maxwell, said the practice of not taking into account remand periods for juveniles was a glaring disparity in the law.
Date of Birth
Injuring his pregnant partner with intent to cause grevious bodily harm, male assaults female and injuring with intent to injure, the last relating to an assault on a child, all in Auckland in October and December 2007
Assault of a female in 2006 and 2002
The killing of John Wahanui in Auckland in June 1994
Sentenced to 4 years in July 1995, reduced to just 27 months on appeal
Released January 1997
Sentenced to 6 years 9 months with a 4 year minimum non-parole period in May 2009
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OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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