Herald Story here and here
Evening Post, 5th December 2001
The 16-year jail sentences five members of the Mongrel Mob received in June for kidnapping and sexually degrading a 15-year-old girl still stand, though the Court of Appeal has quashed a sexual violation conviction. Overall, the criminality of Shane Gregory Koroheke, 30, Monty Tarawa, 34, Wayne Lester Ratu, 30, Theodore Reneti, 30, and Taylor Cassidy, 32, was little affected by the acquittals on one count, the court said. The appellants were found guilty by a jury on 11 counts arising from the abduction of the girl in South Auckland last year. The complainant was subjected to what the court said was a prolonged and gross attack for about 2 and a half hours. At one point they stood around the girl and chanted "sieg heil". The defence claimed the girl consented but she'd denied it, saying fear stopped her protesting.
Sunday Star Times, June 17th 2001
A 15-year-old girl who stood up to the Mongrel Mob says she has been vindicated after five members received what are believed to be among the harshest sentences ever handed down for sexual offences. The mobsters were each sentenced in the Auckland High Court on Friday to 16 years' jail for kidnapping and sexually degrading the girl last June. "I reckon they deserve every second," the victim said after the penalties were handed down.
The girl is living under a police witness protection scheme. She was not in court when Monty Tarawa, 34; Taylor Cassidy, 32; Wayne Lester Ratu, 30; Theodore Reneti, 30 and Shane Gregory Koroheke, 30, appeared before Justice Judith Potter. They received 16 years for sexual violation, 12 years for abduction and 7 years 6 months for attempted rape. The terms are to be served concurrently. Crown Prosecutor Philip Hamlin said it was one of the worst cases of its kind. "The defendants simply took the complainant as their sex toy for the evening." They subjected her to a wide range and number of sexual indignities and showed no remorse, Hamlin said.
The complainant lived with her female partner who sold cannabis for the mob but had upset the gang as she had not paid $300 she owed. According to the crown, the girl's partner was lured away from their Takanini property in south Auckland, leaving the girl home alone. The girl was then abducted and taken to a sleepout at Cassidy's home in nearby Manurewa, where the offences took place. The complainant did not want to receive any more counselling as it brought back the terror of the night, Hamlin told the court. "So this will stay with her for the rest of her life."
A victim impact report noted the victim was an adolescent suffering severe psychological symptoms and that she may never recover. "That situation is likely to be exacerbated by a not- unrealistic fear she may continue to be at risk from associates of the offenders." The sentences are believed to be among the harshest ever handed down for sexual offences, superseded by only a few, including serial rapists Malcolm Rewa and Joseph Thompson.
The girl has been praised by police and the judiciary for her bravery in bringing the charges to court - something the five gang members thought she would never do. Justice Potter said the victim was extremely courageous in giving evidence at the trial. "But she knew if she did not, they would walk free - as they no doubt anticipated they would - relying on the climate of fear and power which they exerted over the victim to control their future actions."
The court heard the girl feared death during the assault, which lasted more than two hours after she was abducted in the early hours of June 29 last year. "Over the next 2 and a half hours she was subjected at the behest of these prisoners to sexual violation in a variety of forms and to gross indignities," Justice Potter said. These included having to perform oral sex and being subjected to genital penetration. At one stage during her ordeal, the mobsters stood around the bed and chanted "Seig Heil". They also spat on her and made barking noises.
It was difficult, if not impossible, for any reasonable, rational human being to contemplate that mature men would inflict such damage on a girl who was still a child for their own obscene gratification, Justice Potter said. After the ordeal, in severe pain, she was ordered to dress and then dumped at the end of the street where she lived and made to walk home. After telling her partner what happened, she showered and went to bed.
Later that morning, Tarawa, Koroheke and Reneti returned to the Takanini house with a prostitute and demanded to use the spare bedroom to have sex with her. The victim's partner, who feared for both their safety, felt she had no choice in the matter. The next night they went to the police. The officer in charge of the inquiry, Detective Sergeant Dave Pizzini, paid tribute to the victim, who he said had initially been apprehensive about giving evidence. There were inferred threats against her life if she gave evidence against the Mongrel Mob, he said. "But she was determined to see justice was done. She's remarkably brave in coming forward."
The severity of the attack was likened to the actions of the notorious Ambury Park rape, when seven Mongrel Mob members were charged with the rape of a young woman at the gang's convention in Mangere in 1986. Pizzini, who has handled around 100 rape cases - including the Ambury Park case - in his 21-year career, said this case was one of the worst he had worked on. "In some respects it was every bit as bad and in some respects worse (than Ambury Park)." The age of the victim, her vulnerability and the premeditation made this latest case particularly bad, he said.
The victim, now 16, says she now feels she can attempt to rebuild her life. During the trial she spent 2 and a half days on the witness stand and was cross examined by defence counsel, which was "scary and frightening", she said. However, with the five mobsters behind bars she said she felt safe. "I can now move on with my life." She is resuming school through correspondence lessons and says she wants a veterinary career. Defence counsel acknowledged their clients faced serious penalties. Each had a lengthy criminal history but none had previous convictions for sexual offences.
During sentencing, Cassidy, a father of six, twice tried to challenge the judge, saying "bullshit" as she spoke. Justice Potter said the events of June 29 last year changed the victim's life forever. "She suffered the grossest possible invasion and violation of her physical, psychological and mental being .... It is extremely likely that her suffering will extend well beyond the term of any imprisonment imposed on them."Character references stating that some of the prisoners were good fathers raised serious questions, Justice Potter said. "One can not help wondering what their attitude would be to their own child being subjected to such terrible treatment."
Date of Birth
Sentenced to 16 years in June 2001
Unsuccessfully appealed in November 2001
Due for release March 2011
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