A man convicted of manslaughter following the death of Radio
New Zealand journalist Phillip Cottrell has had his appeal
against his sentence dismissed.
Nicho Alan Tamati Waipuka appealed against his sentence on
the basis that the 15-year starting point for his sentence
was excessive, the 12 months uplift for his previous
convictions was excessive and that the minimum period of
imprisonment should have been no more than 50 per cent of the
Waipuka was found guilty by a jury at the High Court at
Wellington a year ago today.
His teenage co-accused, Manuel Robinson, was acquitted and
At the High Court trial, Waipuka admitted causing Mr
Cottrell's death but denied murder.
He accepted he had punched Mr Cottrell once and contended
that his death arose from Mr Cottrell hitting the pavement or
kerb in the street where the assault took place.
The Crown's case was that the victim's death resulted from a
punch followed by kicking or stomping to the head and arms.
Court of Appeal Justice Tony Randerson said a complicating
factor in the case was that Mr Cottrell suffered from a rare
condition known as osteogenesis imperfecta - a defect in
collagen which made his bones brittle.
There was conflicting evidence from medical witnesses called
for the Crown and, at sentence, it was necessary for the
Judge to make findings of fact for sentencing purposes.
Waipuka's counsel Paul Paino said the way in which the
Crown's evidence on the subject was led was unfair, as was
the sentencing process.
However, Justice Randerson said the offending in this case
was particularly serious and called for a sentence that gave
full weight to the statutory purposes of denunciation,
deterrence and holding the offender accountable.
"The protection of the community was also an important
factor. As the Judge himself recognised, this was a stern
sentence but we have not been persuaded that it was
Waipuka's appeal against his sentence was dismissed.
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