Two men have today been jailed for killing a 48-year-old
Auckland man over four tinnies of cannabis.
Trevor Tafutu, 35, and Simona Liatoa, 34, had earlier
admitted the manslaughter of Michael Roberts, who was also
known as Michael Lance Rapata. He suffered a fatal heart
attack after an assault at his Three Kings home in February
In the High Court at Auckland today, Tafutu was sentenced to
six years and 10 months' prison and Liatoa was jailed for
five years and 10 months.
The pair also admitted charges of aggravated robbery and male
Tafutu, Liatoa and a third man were drinking when they
decided to go to Mr Roberts' house to get cannabis. They
decided to use violence if necessary.
On arrival, Mr Roberts' partner opened the door. Liatoa
grabbed her shoulders and Tafutu punched her on the chin.
The pair found Mr Roberts in his lounge where Tafutu began
punching him. Liatoa then joined in.
After the assault the pair stole four tinnies of cannabis and
left. Mr Roberts managed to stagger to a chair, where he died
of a heart attack the assault contributed to.
The Crown suggested the home invasion was gang related, but
Justice Geoffrey Venning said he thought it was "basically
two thugs who had been drinking" and were looking to obtain
drugs for free.
"This sort of behaviour is not to be tolerated in our
Both Tafutu and Liatoa had previous violence convictions and
Tafutu was still subject to release conditions from a jail
sentence at the time.
The judge accepted Liatoa played a secondary part in the home
invasion and said he had participated in a successful
restorative justice meeting with Mr Roberts' partner.
Liatoa also told a pre-sentence report writer he never saw
himself as someone who would take a life and he was truly
Tafutu's restorative justice meeting didn't go so well and
his pre-sentence report said his offending suggested he held
little regard for the rights of others.
Justice Venning declined to impose a minimum non-parole
period on the pair.
- By Jimmy Ellingham of APNZ