Jailed for 'savagery beyond belief'

Zane Tiatoa Currie
Zane Tiatoa Currie
Two South Otago men were jailed yesterday for what was described by the sentencing judge as an ''appalling'' home invasion. 

Zane Tiatoa Currie (19), of Kaka Point, and Daniel Tipene Te Moananui (34), of Inch Clutha, were sentenced to imprisonment terms of six years and two months, and three years and two months, respectively, by Judge Kevin Phillips in the Dunedin District Court yesterday.

The court heard the two men, disguised in hoodies and bandannas, assaulted the Point Bar and Cafe owner Pam Paterson in her Esplanade, Kaka Point, home at 6pm on December 8, last year.

Judge Phillips described the attack as ''savagery beyond belief''.

The offending occurred after a ''heavy session drinking whisky and smoking cannabis'' and displayed a high degree of extreme violence and premeditation, Judge Phillips said.

''I think the motivation seems to be alcohol and money. It is an appalling crime of its kind.

''You knew the occupants were of an age that they could be easily overcome if they offered resistance.

''You have gone to the address and entered the house through an insecure window. The victim was asleep in a chair. She suffered multiple blows to the face and head and was then dragged to the floor where she was further attacked.

''You are fortunate you are not facing more serious charges.''

The victim's injuries included a fractured skull, subdural haematoma, fractured eye sockets and a jaw broken in three places, Judge Phillips said.

''The victim's impact state-ment really upset me. You two have ruined the remainder of her life. You have devastated her. She awoke to find two men in hoodies beating her,'' Judge Phillips told the offenders.

''She suffered physically, psychologically and emotionally. She was airlifted to the high dependency unit at Dunedin Hospital. She has undergone a number of operations and has had to learn to walk again. Her husband thinks she's 30% of the person she was.''

Currie fidgeted throughout the sentencing. Te Moananui stared impassively ahead.

Two members of the public who tried to intervene after the attack, Barry Hessan (55) and Ronald Gabolinscy (65), were also assaulted by Currie and treated for minor to moderate injuries at Balclutha Medical Centre.

The offenders then went to Rosebank Super Liquor, where Currie stole $165.96 of alcohol.

''The two of you were still not done. You've then gone to a bottle shop in Balclutha to get more alcohol. You took bourbon and gin and drove off together,'' Judge Phillips said.

The court heard Currie had previous convictions, including for assault with intent to injure. He had also served a custodial sentence for driving offences.

Counsel for Currie, Helgi Henderson, submitted the attack was not ''top level'' violence.

''There was no suggestion of kicking, or use of weapons. He is not someone who presents with a substantial history of violence.''

However, Judge Phillips said: ''You are 19 years of age and you have an appalling history. I have to denounce and deter this type of gratuitous violence.''

The couple also suffered a $35,000 financial loss as a result of the attack, Judge Phillips noted.

Currie had pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six years and two months' imprisonment for causing grievous bodily harm, one year for assault and one month for theft, the terms to be served concurrently. He was also ordered to pay $12,000 reparation, in instalments, starting within 30 days of prison release.

Crown counsel Robin Bates accepted Te Moananui had played a lesser role in the offending.

Te Moananui had denied attacking the victim, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of assault.

''He was present at the attack, but did not inflict any injuries, physically,'' Mr Bates said.

However, Judge Phillips told the defendant he was considerably older than his co-offender and should have shown more leadership and maturity.

''You said you did not anticipate the level of violence, to which I say: `Who could?'''Defence counsel for Te Moananui, Sarah Saunderson-Warner, said her client was ''deeply remorseful for his offending''.

''He was very stressed in his [police] video interview when he became aware of the injuries the victim sustained.''

The defendant also had a partner of 15 years and four young children, aged 5, 6, 8 and 12, she submitted.

''He is a family man, regarded well by his employers.''

The defendants had been in custody since their arrest last December.

Te Moananui was sentenced to three years and two months' imprisonment for aggravated burglary, one year and eight months for assault and one month for theft, the terms to be served concurrently.

He was also ordered to pay $7500 reparation, in instalments, starting within 30 days of prison release.

Judge Phillips ordered the remission of $1015 in fines.

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