Teen jailed for bashing bus driver

A teenager who attacked a bus driver and knocked him out has been jailed for nearly three years.

Riapo Piripi Tipene, 17, was getting off the bus with two mates on February 25 when he repeatedly punched the Christchurch driver in the head.

Police were called by witnesses who said the driver was spat at, grabbed around the neck and punched by two males and a female.

A small amount of cash was also taken, police say.

Pierce Michael Harrison, a 23-year-old gib stopper and Lucy Anne Hamilton, 17, both deny taking part in the attack.

But Tipene, of Linwood, Christchurch, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm at Christchurch District Court and yesterday (Wed) was sentenced to two years and nine months in jail, with reductions for early guilty plea and his youth.

The bus driver was knocked unconscious in the attack, the court heard.

He was taken to hospital by ambulance with cuts to his face, and swelling and bruising to his face and neck.

It later emerged he had a fractured bone in his cheek.

All three were originally granted bail but Harrison was later twice arrested for breaching its conditions.

Today Harrison made an application for electronically-monitored bail at his family's house in Auckland.

He also had a charge of aggravated robbery upgraded to causing grievous bodily harm.

Defence counsel Andrew McKenzie questioned if he should be facing such a serious charge.

Judge Tony Couch rejected the bail application.

Harrison was remanded in custody until July 18 for a pre-trial callover -- the same hearing of the other co-accused, Hamilton, who has also pleaded not guilty and has elected trial by jury.

- By Kurt Bayer of APNZ

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