30 Sep 2016

Jail for cousins who caused victim to lose leg in road rage act

6:35 pm on 30 September 2016

It started with a flash of lights and ended in a vicious road rage attack that saw a man beaten with a tire iron and run down, causing him to lose his leg.

Martin Sang-Yum was jailed for four years and eight months and his cousin, Trevor Sang-Yum, for two years and one month, when they appeared in the High Court in Auckland this morning.

Earlier Martin Sang-Yum had pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm and both had admitted charges including assault with a weapon and unlawfully taking a vehicle.

Justice Woodhouse said the cousins were driving through Manurewa in June last year when the BMW behind them flashed its lights before passing.

The cousins tailgated the BMW, despite the driver trying to shake them off. When the victim tried to do a U-turn and drive off, the cousins blocked his lane, forcing him to stop.

The judge said the victim got out of his car and told the men he didn't want any trouble, but 23-year-old Trevor Sang-Yum went to the boot and got a tire iron.

"Trevor Sang-Yum, you came around the open driver's door and kicked the victim in the body.

"The victim then tried to get into the driver's seat of his car. He was pulled from the car and punched in the head and stomach. He was then struck in the head with the tire iron.

"The two of you and the victim then moved away from the car, with the victim being punched and struck with the tire iron a number of times about the head and body. He was also put into a headlock."

The judge said eventually the three broke apart before Martin Sang-Yum got into the victim's BMW and drove at the victim.

"The victim shouted: 'Come on mate, don't run over me', and began running. You continued driving towards him, hit him with the car and then the car went through a wooden fence and crashed into a concrete block porch."

Justice Woodhouse said 24-year-old Martin Sang-Yum drove off in the victim's car, followed by his cousin.

Crown prosecutor Ben Smith said, instead of calling emergency services, they left the victim on the road. They later rifled through the victim's car and sold his cell phone for $30. Martin Sang-Yum kept the man's jacket.

Mr Smith questioned the men's remorse, saying both pointed the finger at each other.

Justice Woodhouse raised this point directly with Martin Sang-Yum, who told him his remorse letter was genuine.

The judge said the victim had to have his right leg amputated below the knee.

"The victim's life has been very badly affected, as the result of the loss of his leg. In addition he has lost his job and he feels he has an uncertain future. He lives in constant pain and faces rehabilitation and medication, possibly for the rest of his life."

Martin Sang-Yum's lawyer, Martin Hislop, said it appeared the cousins were intoxicated at the time, and had used drugs, but he said he had noticed a huge change in his client over the past year.

Trevor Sang-Yum's lawyer, Isaac Koya, argued his client was eligible for home detention and that would enable him to keep his job.

But Justice Woodhouse said the only appropriate sentence was jail.

"There was serious violence involved in this, and it was violence committed by the two of you acting together, which made it worse. Attacks to the head with a weapon are serious aggravating factors."

The judge took time off their sentences for remorse and their early guilty pleas.