Prison sentence for two attacks

A repeat offender has been put behind bars for violent attacks that left two men badly beaten.

Tepahi Huki Karetai (26) was sentenced in the Dunedin District Court yesterday for his involvement in two assaults: a pack attack in the community and a solo assault in prison.

The first involved Karetai, Regan Kennedy (22), who was sentenced earlier this month, and one other.

On June 1, the three waited outside the victim's house.

When the man left his house to shop, one of the three said, "there he is guys, get him", and the two men attacked.

For two minutes the men punched and kicked the victim who, after being knocked to the ground, curled up into the foetal position.

Judge Dominic Flatley said there was "clear planning of offending" as the trio had gone deliberately to the house and waited for the victim.

The victim suffered a broken nose in two places, and cuts and bruises to his body.

While remanded in custody, Karetai also went at a fellow prisoner on June 16.

Judge Flatley said there was a clear link between this offending and Karetai's involvement in organised crime.

Court documents state that, without warning, Karetai punched the victim once to the face.

Not expecting it, the victim fell backwards on to the concrete ground, resulting in a large cut to the side of his head.

Panicking, Karetai enlisted others to help clean up the pooling blood and bolster the victim's head, but the man lay there for four minutes before someone helped him up.

The victim suffered a significant head injury as a result and had to be put under medical supervision.

"There is a need to ensure as much as possible a safe and managed environment in prison and such offending behaviour cannot be tolerated," Judge Flatley said.

While the crimes were of a very serious nature, considering the victims were defenceless and vulnerable in both attacks, Judge Flatley allowed a considerable discount for Karetai's upbringing.

"Whilst you ... take responsibility for what you have done, I can fully understand how your environment and context in which you grew up and developed has caused you to think and behave in these ways."

Judge Flatley sentenced him to 28 months' imprisonment.

He also disqualified him from driving for six months on an unrelated charge of driving while suspended.




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