20 May 2017

Man jailed over throat-cutting incident released after one day

4:28 pm on 20 May 2017

A man sentenced to three years and nine months in jail on Thursday for cutting a pregnant woman's throat was released from prison the next day.

Inside Paremoremo Prison

Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

Ruka Te Pono Hemopo, 51, had already spent nearly four years in jail awaiting trial and sentence.

Hemopo was found guilty of wounding a woman with intent to injure her after cutting her throat in an incident in 2013.

He was acquitted of attempted murder.

The woman, who was 18 weeks pregnant, narrowly avoided serious injury, a court was previously told.

It was a second trial for Hemopo, after a guilty verdict at his first trial was overturned by the Court of Appeal, who ordered a new trial.

Justice Ellis said in his sentencing this week that Hemopo's victim was absolutely terrified and was afraid she was going to be killed.

His lawyer Quentin Duff said a Parole Board hearing on Friday agreed Mr Temopo should be released from prison.

At the time of the incident, police used a taser, before shooting and wounding Hemopo.

But an Independent Police Conduct Authority investigation found this was justified, and police did not break any laws.

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