Release denied after psychologists disagree

Kahu Vincent
Kahu Vincent
A man who stomped his victim into a coma in a Wanaka store will remain behind bars after a disagreement between psychologists.

Ahu Stanley Taylor (45) was found guilty of attempted murder and is serving a jail term of 10 years and eight months after the May 2015 assault on Kahu Vincent, which took place at the town’s Night ’n Day.

The victim was in an induced coma for 12 days with significant swelling and bleeding to the brain, which was followed by three weeks in the hospital’s critical care unit.

Mr Vincent continued to suffer for years after the incident.

Taylor appeared before the Parole Board at the Otago Corrections Facility last month, seeking early release.

It was noted he had a criminal history, which included serious violence, in Australia dating from 1994 to 2010, as well as subsequent convictions in New Zealand.

His counsel Deborah Henderson stressed her client’s frustration that he had undertaken 55 sessions with a private psychologist over three years and "does not know when an end is in sight".

A Corrections psychologist, though, put Taylor in the "moderate" risk category and considered he needed to demonstrate change over an extended period.

A specific rehabilitation programme had been prescribed for the inmate, but he had shunned that in favour of the private clinician, the board heard.

The conflict between the two health professionals’ views caused panel convener Judge Geoffrey Ellis some consternation.

He said Taylor’s psychologist must document explicitly how the man’s risk had been mitigated through their sessions and how it would be managed if he was released.

"At that point the department has recommended ... that there should be a review by a departmental psychologist of his progress and of his safety plan following completion of treatment," Judge Ellis said.

He said Taylor was "highly intelligent" and was using his time in jail as constructively as possible.

On May 9, 2015, Taylor and Leon Rowles launched a relentless attack on Mr Vincent, knocking him to the floor and stomping on him for more than 90 seconds, continuing even as he lay motionless on the floor.

Taylor delivered 23 single-foot stomps to the victim’s head and three times used a bench as leverage so he could use both feet.

In total, about 81 blows were inflicted.

Rowles was jailed for seven years and one month and was granted parole in December 2018.

Taylor will see the board again in October. His sentence expires in 2026.



Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter