The mother of a Merivale man who died the day after he
was hit over the head with a piece of fence paling is disgusted
her son's attacker has been jailed for only a year.
Mihaka Ratahi, 22, who earlier admitted assault with a blunt
instrument on Merivale father Lance Scullin, unlawful
assembly, driving with an excess breath alcohol, and driving
while forbidden, was sentenced in Tauranga District Court
He was also sentenced in relation to two charges of failing
to give his details to police.
Along with the jail sentence, Ratahi was disqualified from
driving for six months.
Ratahi attacked Mr Scullin outside his home on November 30
last year after he came to the aid of another man involved in
a confrontation with gang members.
When Mr Scullin got in between the men he was punched in the
face by one of the group and Ratahi ripped off a piece of
fence paling and hit him over the head.
Mr Scullin suffered a bloody nose and bruising and his body
was found in the back yard of his home the next morning.
There was no evidence the assault contributed to his death
The driving offences were committed on December 14 and May 22
Speaking from Timaru yesterday, Mr Scullin's mother Moira
Hazelwood said she was extremely disappointed about Ratahi's
'' ... I feel 12 months' prison isn't sufficient.''
She said her son's death had been a huge blow to his family
and something she would never get over.
Mr Scullin had three young children aged 5 to 9, and a
19-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, who is due to
have his grandchild on October 8.
Judge Phillip Cooper, who convicted and discharged Ratahi on
the driving while forbidden charge, said a community-based
sentence on the other charges would be inadequate deterrent
response, particularly given Ratahi's prior convictions,
including burglary and a breach of intensive supervision, he
Ratahi will be subject to six months release conditions
requiring him to undergo counselling.
Another Tauranga, man Anthony Taikato, 32, accused of
punching Mr Scullin in the head the night before his death
had the charge withdrawn due to lack of evidence.