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Ahu Stanley Taylor was convicted of attempted murder after a High Court trial more than a year ago but took the case to the Court of Appeal to dispute both the length of his sentence (10 years eight months) and the conviction.
Taylor and Leon Rowles launched an unprovoked attack on father of two Kahu Vincent in the Wanaka Night 'n Day on May 9, 2015.
Their kicks and punches left the victim on the floor and the violence escalated from there.
``For the next one minute and 39 seconds both Mr Taylor and Mr Rowles attacked Mr Vincent as he lay motionless on the floor. This included repetitive stomps on his face and head,'' the Court of Appeal's recently-released decision said.
``Mr Taylor delivered 23 single-foot stomps to Mr Vincent's head. On an additional three occasions, Mr Taylor placed his hands on a shop bench either side of him and lifted himself up so as to be able to stomp with both feet at the same time on Mr Vincent's head.''
In total, about 81 deliberate blows were made to Mr Vincent's head or body.
When Taylor was later arrested he told police: ``Well he was a bit of a tough guy, I think we'll call it self-defence. Nearly dead is nearly dead. He was a smart arse''.
Mr Vincent remained in an induced coma for 12 days with significant swelling and bleeding to the brain.
He spent three weeks in the hospital's critical care unit with traumatic brain injury and related complications, followed by a prolonged period of intensive neurosurgical treatment and rehabilitation, the court heard.
Counsel Marie Taylor-Cyphers said there was insufficient evidence on which the jury could reasonably have found the requisite intent to kill.
She also placed weight on the absence of any weapon as well as evidence of Taylor kicking Mr Vincent in the ribs, which she argued did not prove attempted murder.
Ms Taylor-Cyphers said the jury was not entitled to rely on inferences from Mr Taylor's post-incident conduct because his conduct was equally consistent with an intent to cause grievous bodily harm as it was with an intent to kill.
Justices French, Mallon and Duffy disagreed, pointing to the ``extreme violence'' inflicted by the defendant.
Despite Taylor's willingness to plead to a lesser charge, the court ruled any discount in sentence was inappropriate.
Rowles was jailed for seven years one month - after a successful appeal - but he had pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm before trial.
The court said a distinction could be drawn between his conduct and that of Taylor because he tried to pull his co-defendant off the victim several times.
Taylor's minimum non-parole period of five years was also unchanged.
- Rob Kidd