A man convicted for the manslaughter of a 15-year-old boy has
failed to get his sentence reduced on the grounds of his
Fabian Mika was earlier this year sentenced in the High Court
at Christchurch to six years and nine months' imprisonment
after pleading guilty to manslaughter, being an unlicenced
drunk driver who did not stop for police and failed to check
if anyone was hurt after he crashed a stolen car.
According to a decision of the Court of Appeal, released
today, on February 21 this year, Mika consumed a considerable
amount of alcohol and smoked cannabis before driving a stolen
vehicle to collect more alcohol and supplies. He had three
passengers, one of whom was Ethan Takitimu-McKenzie, 15.
A police officer observed him driving too fast and signalled
for him to stop but he sped off.
At one point he accelerated through a busy intersection at
speeds of up to 100kmh on the wrong side of the road. Police
abandoned the chase.
Mika ignored his passengers' requests to stop and allow them
to leave before he struck a road barrier, causing the vehicle
to roll on its roof.
Ethan was thrown for the vehicle and killed while Mika ran
away without checking whether anyone was injured.
Mika's lawyer, James Rapley, submitted to the Court of Appeal
that his client should be entitled to a 10 per cent discount
on his sentence to reflect his Maori heritage and thus social
He submitted that the sentencing judge should have taken into
account the "unique systematic or background factors leading
to the appearance of a Maori offender in court''.
Mr Rapley emphasised the disproportionate representation of
Maori in New Zealand's prison population.
The court accepted that disadvantages suffered by many Maori
frequently contributed to offending, "but it does not
logistically follow that a person is more likely to be at a
disadvantage and to offend simply by virtue of his or her
"To some, such a proposition may appear offensive,'' the
court's decision said.
The appeal was dismissed.