2 Jun 2010

Vercoe whanau appalled by killer's sentence - 'a joke'

9:49 pm on 2 June 2010

The family of a man who died after being kicked in the head outside a Whakatane bar says his attacker's sentence is a joke.

In the High Court at Rotorua today, 21-year-old Isaiah Tai was sentenced to two years and 10 months in prison for the manslaughter of 36-year-old school principal and Bay of Plenty regional councillor Hawea Vercoe.

Justice Potter said the violence was unprovoked and gratuitous but the length of the sentence has dismayed members of the victim's whanau.

Mr Vercoe's aunt, Pene Ryan, says everyone loses out from such a sentence for the man who killed her nephew, whom she describes as an up-and-coming New Zealander.

"It's just an absolute joke," Ms Ryan says. "It's just a mockery of a young man's life."