30 Jan 2018

Gang members sentenced for assault, patu attack

6:50 pm on 30 January 2018

Members of Dunedin's chapter of the Mangu Kaha gang charged with ramming a car and attacking a man with a patu have been sentenced.

Members of the gang, also know as Black Power appeared in court this afternoon.

They were charged with the assault of a former member in Stafford Street on 28 June last year in which the victim's car was rammed, he was assaulted and then had a patu swung at his head.

Several associates of the gang were also involved in another assault on Princes Street early on 25 June. On that occasion the principal victim was knocked unconscious and his teeth were broken.

The kingpin of the Dunedin chapter of Mangu Kaha, Albert Epere, received a seven-month jail term for his part in the Stafford Street assault.

Epere, 51, swung a wooden patu at the victim after Billy Cooper, a 26-year-old prospect, Poutokomanawa Hapi, a 25-year-old patched member, and Paora Grant, a 21-year-old prospect, had assaulted him.

The assault occurred after the men attended court to support Hapi at an appearance that morning.

Grant and Cooper were driving in a Subaru when they saw the victim speaking to a member of the Killer Beez - a rival gang.

"Grant veered his Subaru to the right before making a sharp left turn to drive directly at the BMW car [belonging to the victim]," the summary of facts said.

The victim was in the driver's seat and the driver's door bore the brunt of the impact.

The Killer Beez member's body smashed through the front passenger window, as he was leaning in to talk to the victim, and he was thrown on to the footpath by the impact of the crash.

The Mangu Kaha associates then crashed the Subaru into the victim's car a second time.

Epere, Hapi and an unidentified third man were in another car, saw what happened and then joined in the fracas.

Grant, Hapi and Cooper kicked and punched the victim on the ground, the summary said.

The unidentified fifth male yelled at a witness as the assault took place and the witness, intimidated, did not make a statement to police about what they saw.

After Hapi, Grant and Cooper stopped assaulting the victim, he got off the ground and faced Epere.

"Confronting the victim, Epere swung the patu at the victim's head and continued to yell aggressively towards him," the summary said.

The five men then fled the scene in the two vehicles.

A subsequent search of Cooper's address revealed shotgun shells in the Subaru, despite him not being a firearms licence holder.

When spoken to by police, Cooper said his vehicle was at the scene but he was not. Hapi admitted being at the scene but denied assaulting anyone. Grant admitted being at the scene but could not recall what happened, and Epere remained silent.

Cooper received one year and three months' jail for his part in the attack.

Hapi will be sentenced next month while Grant will be sentenced in May.

That pair also appeared for sentencing in the Princes Street assault along with Shakarna Epere and Keith Thomas.

In that attack, which occurred near the Dunedin Casino early in the morning, one of the victims was soccer-kicked by Grant while on his hands and knees.

He was knocked unconscious and Hapi then straddled him and threw punches to his head.

The attack only stopped when a member of the public stepped in.

The victim suffered concussion and facial injuries with two teeth having to be removed.