Early release unlikely for gang enforcer

Gang member Hirini Te Runa has spent more than five years behind bars. PHOTO: ROB KIDD
Gang member Hirini Te Runa has spent more than five years behind bars. PHOTO: ROB KIDD
A gang enforcer who repeatedly beat a prospect as part of a "conditioning ritual" will likely serve his time behind bars without early release.

Hirini Desmond Te Runa (29) was originally jailed in September 2015 for serious violence but his stay in prison was extended after he admitted dishing out two weeks of severe violence to a prospective Black Power member at the Otago Corrections Facility.

His sentence ends in December and the Parole Board declined his release again last month after hearing he had done no rehabilitative work during the lock-up and had no viable address at which to stay.

In April 2017, Te Runa’s victim began sharing a cell with his victim.

Over a fortnight, as part of an agreed ‘‘conditioning’’ ritual, the prisoner struck the prospect all over his body, with a particular focus on the man’s genitals.

The victim refused to leave his cell, so his injuries went unnoticed, and when prison officers did their rounds he covered himself with items of clothing to disguise his condition.

On May 19, however, he was found with both eyes filled with blood.

His face was ‘‘swollen and unrecognisable’’ from the numerous blows he had sustained, the court heard at sentencing.

The man suffered broken ribs and hematomas, and was urinating blood before being admitted to hospital.

Parole Board panel convener Judge David Mather described Te Runa’s conduct as "concerning".

He had since been transferred to the Auckland South Corrections Facility where he was a high-security inmate — the result of "poor" behaviour.

Te Runa, Judge Mather said, was therefore ineligible to do some programmes in prison, while others he had rejected.

Despite accepting he had alcohol and drug issues, the prisoner refused to undertake the prescribed course.

The only remedy was one-on-one treatment with a psychologist, but that would only be available in August at the earliest.

"We invite Serco to reconsider and re-prioritise Mr Te Runa given his offending history and the importance of some offence-related treatment prior to his sentence end date," Judge Mather said.

Te Runa will see the board again in October.

rob.kidd@odt.co.nz

 

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