Family's despair over assault on father

A little girl still loves her father but misses her old daddy who, before he was viciously assaulted, was playful and fun.

"I love my daddy, but why doesn't he love me any more?" the young girl asks.

"I know he still does – but not like he used to."

One night in November 2012 her father Mike, whose family have asked that his last name not be published, pulled up near the Crown Hotel in Pt Chevalier with friends.

One went inside to buy beer while Mike and another mate waited.

They were confronted by a group of men who were drinking outside and the following attack left every bone in Mike's face broken. He spent two weeks in a coma and had to learn to walk and talk again, but will probably never fully recover.

Mike's friend had a broken nose and other head injuries.

In the Auckland District Court today, Toti Junior Toti, 23, the attack's instigator, and James Michael Mafi, 24, who landed a heavy, charging blow to Mike's head, were each jailed for nine years.

They were found guilty at a jury trial earlier this year that was brought forward more than a year after Mike's family spoke to the New Zealand Herald about their concerns over the delay between the assault and the proposed trial date in May 2015.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, Mike's young daughter wrote of her despair at what happened to her father.

"We used to have fun, play games, go for drives in the car, read books, talk, but not any more," the girl said.

"I miss him. When is my daddy going to be normal again? I just want my old daddy back. I don't much like my new daddy. He's growly all the time."

In a statement written by Mike, he described feeling trapped at home in his "prison", with no memory of important dates in his life like his wedding and children's births and unable to provide for his family.

"I'm no longer the father and husband I used to be. Because of this assault I find it very difficult to tolerate the noise and play that comes with having a young child."

Mike's wife Gail told Toti and Mafi about the stress and strains she was now under, having had to quit her job to look after her husband and single-handedly raise her young daughter.

She said she could not forgive her husband's attackers.

Both Toti and Mafi were each found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Mike and assaulting his friend with intent. Toti was also found guilty of injuring Mike's friend with intent.

"I denounce your conduct. There is no rational basis for behaving the way you both did that night," Judge Nevin Dawson told the pair.

He said CCTV footage of their group of friends made it clear they were spoiling for a fight.

A third man, Stephen Uasi, was found not guilty.

- Jimmy Ellingham of APNZ

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