Gang member ‘undue risk to community’

John-Boy Rakete declined to renounce the Mongrel Mob when he spoke to the Parole Board. PHOTO:...
John-Boy Rakete declined to renounce the Mongrel Mob when he spoke to the Parole Board. PHOTO: ROB KIDD
A Dunedin gang member who committed a callous assault, which eventually led to the victim’s death, says the incident "haunts" him.

John-Boy Rakete (27) told the Parole Board at a hearing this month that he was sorry for the punch that knocked Nigel Landreth to the ground and for pouring a drink over him as he lay there bleeding.

The victim died 14 months later.

Rakete admitted he was a patched gang member but said the episode had been a "wake-up call".

"He said he is in the process of redeveloping himself and working on himself," panel convener Mary More said.

"However, he did accept that he is a patched member of the Mongrel Mob, and when we pushed him on whether or not he was likely to leave the gang he said that he cannot do without his family."

While Rakete claimed at the hearing that he had developed strategies to deal with his impulsivity, they were not shown when the board declined parole.

"When we gave him our decision he responded in an antagonistic manner that confirmed to the board that he has yet to learn to put all of his new skills into practice, which goes some way to confirming that he remains an undue risk to the community," Ms More said.

Rakete was jailed for two years two months following the attack in mid-2018, a sentence which expires in September.

At his last parole hearing, the board was concerned to hear the prisoner had been allegedly involved in further violence while behind bars.

But at this month’s meeting, the board heard police had reviewed footage of the incident — which took place during a game of touch rugby — and had opted not to lay charges.

Rakete had been placed in a high-security wing of the prison while the incident was investigated but had since been reassessed as low security.

His behaviour since had been "mostly positive", Ms More said.

Rakete had been honing his welding skills and had attended a violence-prevention programme.

"While Mr Rakete was generally considered to engage positively with the treatment process, he was observed to fluctuate between active and passive participation throughout the programme," Ms More said.

The inmate described how much he had gleaned from the course during discussions with the board.

He said he learned about his high-risk situations and how to manage them.

Rakete acknowledged he had issues with feeling threatened and had now learned to walk away, and talk to people when experiencing stress.

Supporters at the parole hearing said they wanted to help "steer him toward the right direction" but the only address they could provide for his release was in Dunedin — contrary to a request from the victim’s family.

Mr Landreth’s sister Michelle said she had made it clear to the board she did not want Rakete in Dunedin.

She remained sceptical about the man’s remorse and hoped members of the public would make submissions to the board echoing her standpoint.

"What he did was disgusting, there’s no excuse, it was cold and callous. None of us want to ever have to see him or ever hear about him," Ms Landreth said.

Rakete comes up for parole again in August.

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